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The imperative of retaining and recruiting effective and trusted employees remains a top concern for business leaders today and with good reason. Some projections indicate that voluntary turnover could jump by as much as 20% over pre-pandemic levels.
The continuing tight labor market means that competition is stiff, both for hiring as well as retaining current team members. In order to compete in this market, businesses need a highly skilled and attentive HR department. Whether you have an HR department of one, a staff of many, or even if someone has simply taken on the HR responsibilities in addition to a different full-time role, here are some best practices that can help you get the most out of your HR efforts.1. Review Compensation and Benefits
Benchmarking with others in your region and industry isn’t always an easy task, but keeping a pulse on the salaries and perks that your competitors offer is a strategic and crucial part of attracting talent as well as keeping your existing employees happy.
Increasingly, benefit packages weigh heavier on a person’s decision to accept a position and these days good health insurance and competitive retirement packages are table-stakes. Companies are raising the bar on benefits like PTO, work from home, professional development, meals, and other perks. While platinum-level benefits aren’t always feasible for smaller businesses on tight budgets, there are ways to get creative that can set you apart from others in your industry.2. Communicate and Foster a Strong Culture
Employees can be selective about their options in this market and they are often choosing culture over other factors. There is a greater awareness of the role that culture can have on happiness, job satisfaction, well-being, and stress reduction.
When recruiting, it’s crucial to clearly communicate the values, beliefs, behaviors, and experiences that define your organization. Of greater importance is that those characteristics are authentically lived out among every employee. It’s one thing to talk about a good culture and another to actually have one. Instilling a sense of purpose and a cohesive atmosphere, empowering employees, and creating work/life balance is just the start. Creating an engaging culture won’t happen overnight, but it definitely needs to happen if you want to maximize your HR efforts and maintain a strong and dedicated workforce.3. Develop Talent from Within
Companies that struggle to find skilled labor often overlook the potential inside their own walls. Developing talent from within can help fill difficult positions and increase retention efforts. Target employees who have leadership potential and give them a vision for how they can contribute to the company and boost their personal and professional goals.
Provide mentors, career coaches, and training opportunities to learn new skills, including paying for relevant classes and certifications. Help your team build their professional networks and develop soft skills to improve their communication and social interactions. Share your company’s personal and professional development initiatives with candidates as well, which can be a key aspect when considering a new career with your company.
As someone who oversees HR functions, don’t forget to focus on your own career. Consider how you can improve your HR skills and look for ways to leverage the expertise of others who can enhance your efforts.4. Implement Wellness Initiatives
Wellness programs that give your employees access to both physical, financial, and mental/emotional wellness supports are no longer a “nice-to-have” but a “must-have.” It’s meaningful for them and it makes good sense for you. Wellness plays a critical role in the financial health of your organization. Healthcare costs continue to rise, and implementing a holistic wellness program is a strategic approach to mitigating the risk of escalating costs.
Promoting wellness initiatives to potential recruits communicates once again that you care about their personal well-being in addition to their professional performance, and it can be a deciding factor for those weighing their options between you and another employer.5. Ensure Compliance
Compliance with multiple regulations for employers can feel like a full-time job itself. Potential changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), updates for OSHA reporting, determining the exemption status of employees, knowing your state’s rules for workers’ compensation, and more, can overwhelm even the most seasoned HR professionals.
While compliance may seem like a back-office function at first glance, it plays a major role in recruiting and retaining employees. Know what questions you should and shouldn’t ask during interviews, respond to employee requests for information in a timely manner, maintain accurate and secure employee records, handle concerns and harassment claims properly, and follow best practices for maintaining an employee handbook. When employees and recruits see a commitment to compliance, they feel more confident knowing they will be treated fairly and that any concerns will be taken seriously.6. Embrace Technology and Analytics
In the age of AI, companies need to demonstrate that they are aware of and embracing new technologies in a forward-thinking but responsible way. Technologies like advanced AI may even require new internal policies guiding its use in the office.
Many new technologies can drive efficiency across departments and automate many tedious or repetitive tasks allowing HR leaders to focus on the more rewarding aspects of their job. HR departments use software to manage payroll, but those platforms are often inadequate for managing tax forms, employee records, OSHA logs, and other information. A robust Human Capital Management system automates many functions and integrates with payroll. It also provides a secure portal where employees can manage personal data, records, and other confidential information.7. Understand Your Organization’s Strategic Goals
Today’s HR professionals are responsible for more than employees; they also need to understand and help drive the strategic direction and economic environment of an organization. By becoming more financially fluent and knowing what makes your organization successful, your HR department can anticipate necessary workforce changes that may be required and implement an action plan to meet your company’s needs.
The responsibilities of today’s HR professionals and their role in maintaining a happy and healthy workforce can’t be summarized in a single article. Be sure to access our HR Best Practices Checklist below for more ideas and reach out to our team with questions or to discuss ways to enhance your efforts even further.