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While many business leaders view HR as a positive influence in their organization, the department (and its many administrative functions) is still largely viewed as an area of transactions, a cost center, rather than a key contributor to profitability.
This perspective can make it difficult for HR professionals to argue persuasively that new initiatives should be fully funded because the return on investment isn’t always immediately clear in an HR strategy.
As a result, a growing number of HR departments have taken some creative, low-cost approaches to help prove their value beyond administrative functions, showing that effective HR can make a significant impact on the bottom line.
If you are looking for ways to change the perception of your HR department, improve employee relations and impact operational performance, here are five strategies to consider.
You don’t need a role in management or a high-ranking title to lead. You can make a positive impact on the company and influence others simply by doing your job well and embracing qualities of leadership.
If you are an HR leader think ahead to the big picture and focus on what can be done instead of what cannot. Plan and strategize, share information and take time to train others. Give constructive feedback and ask for feedback in return. Say thank you and give kudos for a job well done. All other strategies benefit from this attitude and approach.
For example, establishing structured, transparent HR processes, parameters and protocols is a good way to communicate expected behaviors with employees. And when HR leaders consistently demonstrate competence, fairness and respect in employee interactions, it helps builds trust for the compliance considerations associated with HR functions and the impact they can have on the organization.
When we think of employee engagement, we typically think about flexible schedules, wellness initiatives and teambuilding events—things that build culture and comradery outside of job duties.
However, a dynamic onboarding program coupled with a mentoring initiative can also positively influence employees’ levels of engagement with their work and desire to stay with an organization. And some of the most effective engagement initiatives help show employees how they directly contribute to the company’s success. Inviting employees to participate in brainstorming sessions, asking their insights in problem solving and seeking input on company initiatives shows respect, creates a sense of ownership and purpose, and goes a long way in improving job satisfaction.
A recent report indicates that 70 percent of employees believe better training would help them become more focused, prevent distractions and return more job excitement in the form of continuous improvement. Nearly as many employees, however, say they don’t ask for learning opportunities.
Effective HR departments provide learning opportunities and encourage employees by helping them align their development goals with those of the company. When employees feel like they have a purpose and they’re building opportunities for the future within your organization, it can help with retention efforts and significantly impact productivity.
Closing employment gaps isn’t just good for society; it’s good for business. Globally, 60 percent of employers say that diversity has improved their business through gains in creativity, innovation and reputation, according to a 2019 United Nations labor study.
Further, companies with more women in management positions reported 10 to 15 percent increases in profit.
Not only do employers need to encourage diversity in their hiring and promotion practices; diversity awareness and sensitivity training should be conducted to help employees understand varying viewpoints and to ensure that each member of the team has input to decisions and is treated with trust, dignity and respect.
The adage “show don’t tell” is certainly applicable when aiming to use a mix of qualitative and quantitative data to prove a point. Numbers don’t lie, but they also don’t tell the whole story. Yes, 2+2=4, but so is 3+1 and 4-0 and 5-1. Just because the outcome is the same, doesn’t mean the process to get there is the most efficient or ideal.
Put metrics in place so you can effectively measure and study your processes and set appropriate targets. Over the years, LEAN and other programs have taught us that eliminating waste and standardizing ways of doing business leads to greater efficiencies and reduced costs.
Review the dollars currently associated with labor, benefits, absenteeism, turnover, recruitment, training and development, safety protocols and employee relations. Consider if and how they might be better allocated and bring recommendations to your leadership team. Sometimes saving money isn’t about withholding funds, but spending more wisely for a better return.
Outsourcing a portion or all of your HR functions typically costs less than hiring a full-time team member. McCloneHR can oversee many of your HR administrative tasks, ensure compliance, and provide strategic guidance on other initiatives, allowing you and your team to focus on strategies that help boost profit.
Check out the infographic below for a helpful comparison between In-House and Outsourced HR or reach out to our team to learn more about the benefits of partnering with McCloneHR.