Focusing on the “human” in human resources

Focusing on the “human” in human resources

Baker Creative > Blog > Human Relations > Focusing on the “human” in human resources

Just like many other departments in today’s world, the role of human resources (HR) is evolving. This does not mean abandoning the “human” aspect of HR.

In fact, proper adoption and use of automation and artificial intelligence can enable practitioners to focus on advocating for associates more effectively.

In the current gig economy where remote, freelance and hybrid work formats are more popular, the utilization of technology enables HR professionals to keep in touch with far-flung associates better than ever.

Here are ways HR professionals can augment their value to an organization:

Refresh training opportunities: Look at alternative ways to teach employees skills for their next role, or augment the skills they have, to incorporate the new technology streamlining their jobs. In a time when employers are hiring for specific skills more than ever, acquiring these skills through training in an effective fashion is a catalyst to success.

Using data: HR is historically known for its role in compiling mandated government compliance reports. Technology can assist HR professionals in utilizing data to detect patterns in employee behavior, retention and other factors and make plans to address the gaps through the use of analytics to assist in solving problems. Rather than being afraid of technology, learn how to best incorporate it so that associates are reskilled or enhance their skills to utilize automation to their advantage and leave the more mundane tasks behind and become more effective.

Review your application process: Look at the questions you’re asking on your employment application. Is all of it necessary? What else would be more valuable? What can wait until the associate is hired? And in the world of cyber crime, how is the data stored, how can it be accessed, and by whom?

Digitization means efficiency: Once upon a time, everyone applied for a job in person and filled out a paper application in ink, followed by an in-person interview. Today, the entire hiring process can occur online. Automation + the human touch can exist effectively online. Embracing digital tools enables HR practitioners to be more efficient and accurate in involving payroll, directories, timesheets, scheduling, expense reports, mobile applications, recruitment, resume scanning, onboarding, training, development, performance evaluations, remote staff management, employee benefit portals, and more. Automation does not mean HR representatives have less to do since there are fewer papers to shuffle. They can utilize the saved time to keep in touch with employees in ways that are crucial today. For example, ensuring employee wellness is more at the forefront, thanks to the weariness exacerbated by navigating a pandemic.

Engage employees: Employees can be engaged more to guide the organization’s corporate culture through an employee council to garner a sense of ownership in the organization, its success and employee satisfaction. It is a tangible way to show that employees and their input are valued.

Revamp reviews to become development plans: In addition to reviewing performance, ask what an employee’s goals are and how the company can be helpful in achieving them, whether it is plotting a job succession roadmap or arranging for a meeting with a leader in another department as a potential mentor. Employees are more appreciative of employers they believe are personally invested in their welfare beyond a paycheck.

Be progressive: More recent generations view HR more as a proponent of addressing employee personal needs instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, whether than means staggered schedules, hybrid work, job sharing, counseling, community engagement opportunities and more. HR managers have the opportunity to be the organizational thread that drives innovative in the workplace and abandons the “We’ve always done it that way” mentality in favor of a fresh outlook.

Welcome a diverse workforce: HR directors can ensure people from all walks of life feel at home in the organization, regardless of age, gender, nationality or the pronouns they use to identify themselves. The last thing you want to hear is that a prospect excited about an organization had her feelings hurt and enthusiasm dampened because she didn’t feel she could ever weave her way in beyond the tight cliques.

Show them: Don’t just tell them. HR leaders can stay out of their offices, mingle among the people – even online– and inspire by example through open, honest, sincere communication and approachability. Offer fun training that is led by teammates when appropriate.

Offer a voice: In addition to listening, provide means for employees to express themselves through surveys and suggestions. Be accountable to them and reward their hard work.

Invest in employees: Companies invest in equipment. They invest in their customers. By investing in their associates as well through the guidance of astute HR professionals, the results can include increased productivity and camaraderie, lowered absenteeism, greater retention and promotion from within, and an enhanced sense of ownership by employees.

After all, people make it happen. HR professionals are giving them the tools to refine processes and feel more fulfilled on the job.