This week’s guest blog is from Richard Crooks about how HR can support employees.
How to give your employees the support and understanding they need to do their best work
How does HR support employees? Well, it’s actually quite complicated! If you don’t know how human resources helps your employees, you could find yourself under- or over-supporting them, which will hurt both your business, your bottom line and the morale of your team.
So, why do you need HR?
If you’re a business owner and new to human resources (HR), you might be wondering why you even need HR. Shouldn’t employees just clock in and do their job? You could certainly run your business that way, but it won’t take long before it will bite you back.
Under-supported employees can lead to high turnover rates, poor morale, and decreased productivity. These things cost money—not only because of salaries and benefits for new hires, but also due to lost productivity from under-supported workers—and they can ultimately contribute to loss of clientele or failure of a business.
To best understand how HR supports employees in your business, you need to have an understanding of the multi-faceted elements of HR, and the reason why those separate parts are important for both employee and managers. For example, an HR brings benefits to your admin, including compliance and legal mumbo jumbo. But HR can also help you recruit the best employee for a hard to fill role, or to help build up your benefits packages for your staff. It’s a massive role that companies often push to the back of the queue – but could make or break your business.
Scaling your business through HR
.Without proper planning and execution, it’s very easy to let support structures fall by the wayside. Usually, for instance, when a business starts to approach having and employee headcount of 25, things start to crumble. Processes can’t keep up, pay roll becomes a chore, managers don’t have proper training to support an employee who isn’t fulfilled in their work. People leave for competitors for better pay and benefits. The list goes on. We’ve all seen the barriers to growth.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about how you’re going to scale your business without sacrificing its integrity (or employee morale), you might want to consider turning to an HR expert – either appointing an HR manager or, what best works for most small businesses, an outside HR consultants.
So let’s discuss the benefits of HR to your teams:
1) Employee Benefits
To attract and retain top talent, business owners can’t rely on salary alone. Especially now. Instead, they need to offer their employees a broad set of employment benefits. These are anything that makes an employee’s life easier, more comfortable or more enjoyable—from gym memberships to retirement plans to free meals at lunchtime. When employees feel valued, it is reflected in their workplace performance and ability to help boost your business success. For small businesses looking for ways to provide these kinds of benefits for less money, it is possible with a little digging.
And now, after COVID-19 and the dawn of hybrid working and with more businesses than ever, it’s even harder than it was when we were all in offices. Companies can’t rely on gym memberships and free snacks to retain employees. Great pensions, healthcare benefits, career progression and training, learning opportunities – you name it. Employment benefits have changed – and if you aren’t thinking about what you offer candidates – then now is the time to do so.
2) Review company processes and procedures
HR consultants look at everything from dress code expectations to talent assessment strategies—and provide feedback on what works best in different situations. Processes, policies and procedures may sound boring – but they should be the foundation of your business. Of course when you are a small business, and at the early stages in your journey, things probably form organically – but after a while, those same policies and processes aren’t going to work for 30 people.
And why should you reinvent the wheel? There are experienced people with years of HR experience that can help you form scalable procedures for your business.
3) Career planning, training and development
Whether you’re hiring or working in an organisation with employees, it’s easy to forget how important career paths are. At any point, in fact, any of your team could be in a job that doesn’t make sense for their skill set or even be lead down a career path that doesn’t align with their own or the businesses long-term goals. If you’re finding that people are leaving, or lots of people are unsatisfied in their current role, get out there and talk to your staff. Give them opportunities to shine, praise them – and help make them better for themselves, their team and your business. Training and development are so important and again are a big reason people leave businesses.
If you’re an employer looking to develop employee growth or training programs, understanding key points from a human resources perspective will help ensure that employees have all of their needs met both on and off-the-clock—and of course won’t cost you an arm and a leg in hiring and not being able to retain staff.
The role of Human Resources is to help people perform at their best. It’s that simple.
No matter what your company does, your employees are responsible for doing it well. That’s why performance management is so important—it’s a systematic way to improve employee performance by focusing on identifying key skills and areas of improvement, measuring progress in those areas over time, and providing feedback when needed. And that includes getting help when needed.
One-on-one and personal development sessions with an experienced HR professional can help employees identify career goals, develop better ways to work with co-workers, figure out how to handle conflicts in a productive way—all things that are much easier said than done! Regular meetings with an advisor are one of many ways that HR can support employees in achieving peak performance.
But performance management isn’t all focused on progression and promotions. Sometimes, you need to have tough conversations about people’s careers or their behavior..
Proactive and reactive performance management
As well as being proactive when it comes to performance management, sometimes your approach needs to be reactive. Things like taking disciplinary action, or providing managers with guidance on how to lead employees effectively are all steps you should be taking to make sure your company’s culture is the best it can be. These basic things are how you build great teams of people who want to stay with your business, believe in your company’s mission and culture and make their workplace a better one for everyone.
5) Create Company Policies and structure
Company policies are great documents to have on hand to help employees better understand how they should act in various situations. However, creating policies can be time-consuming and it’s easy for them to go unused or be ignored. Instead of creating one giant company policy that you then never refer back to, try breaking it down into smaller chunks that are easily digestible.
For example, instead of having a 50-page document detailing all company rules and regulations, create 10 shorter documents addressing issues like harassment in the workplace, sexual harassment prevention training sessions, diversity at work and so on. These shorter documents can also serve as training manuals for your employees if needed. Having shorter but more accessible documents makes them easier for employees to reference when problems arise or questions need answers.
6) Direct communication and manager/employee relations
Make sure you’re consulting with team members about what they need from their line managers. Even if you think you know exactly what everyone needs, it never hurts to check. Don’t just be open-minded—be receptive to ideas that are different than your own. You don’t have to implement every suggestion, but by remaining open-minded, you will definitely find some new ideas for improving HR support.
Make sure these sessions are direct and open—don’t sugarcoat things, even if they seem unpleasant. In addition, many businesses offer employee assistance programs that offer confidential consultations for employees when they have problems at home or stress from their jobs. These programs can be very effective when it comes to retaining valuable workers who would otherwise become frustrated and quit over minor problems in their personal lives.
It’s important to remember that employees spend a lot of their time at work. So how happy they are in their personal and professional lives is important.
7) Ensure Employee Retention
The biggest thing that an HR consultant can do to support employees is ensure that they’re happy in their roles. Happy employees are more productive, engaged, and likely to stay with your company for a long time. An effective way to measure employee satisfaction is through exit interviews.
When someone leaves your company, you want to know why—after all, that could be a sign of an issue within your culture or business model you need to address. By sitting down with former employees and asking them questions about why they left, you’ll get answers you can use to make adjustments before other people decide they’ve had enough.
Better still, if your company is experiencing high turnover rates—even among top performers—it might be time for a culture shift and some changes in leadership practices.
8) Provide leadership, management and structure
Managing teams is no easy task. In fact, the most successful companies put a lot of their managers and senior leadership teams through intensive training to provide structure for employee development, and a culture that is built around accountability, responsibility, strategic thinking and a growth mindset.
While it is essential for businesses to provide leadership, management and structure, it can be difficult to strike a balance between too much and too little. If your employees don’t have enough guidance or support, you may find yourself spending more time managing them than letting them do their jobs. This will lead to poor performance and decreased employee morale.
On the other hand, micromanaging can cause your employees to resent you as they feel like they are being treated unfairly. If you have ever had an employee walk out of your office in tears or storm into yours ready for a fight because they believe that you are treating them poorly without any basis for doing so, then it’s likely that you are overstepping your role as a manager.
9) Help your business succeed through the best people leadership
You can’t run a great business with just one person. So, getting the right people really matters when you’re managing a team.
The more good people you have on board, and who believe in what they are doing, who are working well together—the more likely your company will succeed. People are an integral part of any organisation so why not put some effort into getting them right?
Your company’s future success may depend on it. One way to do that is by getting some professional help—HR consulting services like ours will be able to work with you to develop an efficient system that lets you get your best employees onboard and keep them there.
Wondering how you can start to implement proper HR structures for your team?
Hiring someone to help handle human resources can be a big step for a business. It can bring new responsibilities, challenges and opportunities. If you’re still curious about how Human Resources supports employees, then let’s chat.
Get in touch if you’d like a free discussion around how you can create an inclusive workplace that employees can thrive, do their best work – and help you scale your business effectively.