Tips for Selecting and Accomplishing the HR Initiatives that Bring the Most Value

by | April 8, 2014

Blog written by Jennifer Olsen, Resourceful HR.

If you know you need to focus on bolstering the HR efforts of your organization but don’t know where to start, you are not alone. The HR function includes many aspects that may seem daunting when you have limited resources and time. It is especially difficult when you have many other responsibilities that need your attention.

Should you focus on performance management, compliance, retention, compensation and if so which activities will bring the greatest value to your organization while also decreasing costs? We have worked with many organizations that have had to answer this very question and have found the best way to move forward effectively while still adhering to your budget (time, resources and money) is to conduct an HR audit. The objective of an audit is to prioritize and evaluate which HR practices, policies and procedures will be the most beneficial to increase employee productivity, reduce potential liabilities and attain your business goals. Essentially, there are many different directions you can take but the key is to prioritize your activities so that you can truly accomplish the results you are seeking.

Once you have identified the areas that are most critical to your organization’s goals, it’s time to create a strategy for making it happen. Here are some tips we recommend:

Narrow the scope. Your audit may uncover several areas that need improvement, however, even if you are tempted to tackle them all, it is better to just pick one. Picking too many may derail you from actually being able to accomplish the activity or make the change needed.

Determine the importance and reason for accomplishing the initiative. How important is it to make this change? Are you losing employees? Is there something occurring that has affected the vision or goals you have for the business? Get really honest with yourself about what is driving you to make this change and how badly you want this change to occur. Asking these questions from the start and identifying the reason for completing the initiative will have a direct correlation to its success.

Identify the resources you have to make the initiative happen. This includes taking into account time, money, personnel count, who on your staff can help and whether they have the capabilities and skills to do the work that is required. We highly recommend that you document and analyze this information.

Start small to make big change. After thinking about the big picture of what you are driving towards, your first step should be focused on picking the low hanging fruit – the items that can be accomplished easily and quickly. Then identify the ones that will take more effort but still will be easy to accomplish with time and effort. This requires identifying the “big rocks’ that are weighing you down…the initiatives you are not sure how to fix. By identifying the areas you can accomplish quickly and easily you often are able to chip away at those ‘big rocks’ to make big change when it comes to culture, new hire processes, compensation and other HR efforts.

Support your staff to truly affect change. Determine what the person you assign the HR initiative needs. Do they need more time to do this work? Do they require professional training, mentorship within the organization or more information about how leadership makes decisions?

Set expectations, measure and evaluate results. When it comes to setting expectations be realistic regarding what you have time for and what resources are available. One of the most effective tools used by leaders who reach their goals and deliver on their expectations is establishing SMART goals (specific, attainable, relevant, and time-based goals). Creating these will not only help achieve your objectives, it will also make it clear when you can cross the action item off your list.

Would you like more information about how to make your HR process and programs successful? Equinox Law, Resourceful HR and Integrated Rewards Consulting are hosting a workshop that shares more details about this subject as well as opportunities for you to ask questions regarding your organization’s HR efforts. Register today!

About Jennifer Olsen, President, Resourceful HR

Jennifer is the founder of Resourceful HR and has advised clients on an array of HR issues including successful recruitment techniques, quick integration strategies for new employees, employee compensation and employee performance. She has been quoted in Forbes, co-chairs the HR Group for the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association (WBBA), serves as Board President of AHOPE for Children, a non-profit organization focused on assistance programs for vulnerable children in Ethiopia and serves on the Board of Directors and as Screening Chair for Seraph Capital Forum. In 2012 she was honored by the Puget Sound Business Journal with the ’40 Under 40’ award, which recognizes influential Seattle-area business leaders who demonstrate dynamic leadership and excel in their industry and in their community.