HR departments love to plan their work and work their plans. However, there are some common mistakes that HR teams make that aren’t necessarily obvious, but can have a significant impact on the organization. Avoid these three mistakes and watch your HR efforts soar.
Mistake 1 – Failing To Strategize With HR’s Broad Organizational View
Human Resources has an advantage over most other departments in that they interact with each business unit on a regular basis, while other departments stay locked into their functional silos. However, most HR teams fail to make strategic use of this unique position. This is partly because most HR teams are stretched thin, and partly because of the traditional approach to HR. In many organizations, HR leadership does not have a seat at the executive table. But this doesn’t have to mean that HR should limit their cross-departmental interactions to conversations about salaries and benefits.
HR leaders should take the time to use their connections with other departments and get out into the organization to see what’s going on first-hand. They should sit down with directors and discuss upcoming projects, goals, and support strategies for the year. For example, an upcoming contract requires extra staff efforts for engineers and other highly-skilled positions. This advance notice allows HR and managers to recruit properly, with a clear understanding of the necessary skill types
Goal: This year, plan to have key HR team members build strategic relationships with leaders in other departments.
Mistake 2 –Failing To Bring Data To The Table
Human resources is a soft skill, and some leadership teams tend to mistake it for a “soft” department. Many HR leaders feel as though executives don’t take them seriously when it comes to conversations about internal processes or conflicts. In order to provide convincing ideas and solutions to upper management, HR professionals must bring data to the table. Supporting data increases HR’s credibility within the organization.
One strategy to acquire data is implementing employee surveys, which can be an invaluable tool. It can take several iterations to know just what to ask in those surveys, but the data they provide highlights issues and concerns and demonstrates to leadership that HR’s recommendations come from data-driven decisions rather than feelings or intuition.
Goal: To develop stronger relationships with leadership, make data collection and analysis part of this year’s HR planning process.
Mistake 3 –Failing To Successfully Communicate New Initiatives
Most HR teams are used to “swallowing bitter pills”, especially when leadership does not include them in long-term strategy and planning efforts. For example, a merger or acquisition can turn something like employee benefits upside down. The business-as-usual mistake means HR staff “swallow the pill” and roll out the new benefits to employees with little warning. With a little bit of creative thinking, however, HR teams can ease their own stress and strife while lessening the blow to the workforce. One approach could be to gather up those employees likely to raise the loudest fuss, and ask those individuals how they think the new plans should be communicated to employees. What would lessen the blow? How can the messaging prevent a mass exodus of talent? Human Resources may not have any control over every new initiative, but they can control the way the workforce receives those messages.
Goal: When new initiatives are less-than-ideal, use strategic and creative approaches to communicate honestly but positively with employees.
Human resources planning mistakes are easy to make, especially considering that most HR teams are stretched beyond their limits. With some creative thinking and resolve, however, HR teams can avoid these three common mistakes and plan a more successful, less stressful new year.
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