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Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today Magazine

Strategic HR—Get your HR house in order

Now more than ever, as the economy strengthens and employee confidence grows, businesses need to look after their staff and their HR strategy, says Paul Robinson. It’s time to get your HR services in order before the end of the year and gain advantage over the competition.

WITH NEW ZEALAND’S growing economy, it is fair to say many businesses have listed steady, sustainable growth as a key goal in 2014. However, it is important to bear in mind that with a positive and growing economy comes increased employee confidence and the need for businesses to look after their staff and HR strategy, now more than ever.

Most companies acknowledge the importance of having a strong HR strategy, but in our fast-paced world, often the best intentions are left as that—intentions.

So, why not make it a goal to get your HR house in order before the end of 2014? With a bit of workforce planning in the right areas, your company will be in a stronger position to see out 2014 and prepare for the New Year.

Make the time to plan now. Everyone is busy right now and a significant portion of businesses have not got the internal capacity to run and manage project work that focuses on retention and engagement of staff. While the day to day work is of course crucial, that longer term vision is really important as well. Talent mapping and workforce planning are essential to secure a diverse, high-performing, creative, adaptive and productive workforce that ultimately feeds the leadership pipeline.
Book a day out to focus on your HR strategy, call in an HR consultant to assist and put a dedicated plan in place for the remainder of 2014 and beyond.
Look ahead. When you sit down with the end of the year in sight, also look two to five years ahead. Assess your business goals and ask yourself, do you have the right level of engagement to make those goals happen? Everyone has productivity goals, but if your engagement of your top talent doesn’t mirror your productivity ambitions, then you have got problems.
Your senior management team and leaders must share a unified vision, while an employee is more likely to remain loyal to a company if they feel their voice is being heard and they are valued for their contribution to the business.
It is also important to be sure your current staffing levels can deliver on your growth targets. While your workforce might be managing the current workload, if you have the ambition to grow, then you need to invest in additional staff as well. Further, if you are losing staff or have a retention problem, then you need to continually add to your workforce in order to ensure you can maintain momentum and nothing slips through the cracks.
It is essential to encourage open conversation with your employees, so sit down and discuss current workloads and solutions to help them if they need it. Having a transparent and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable to speak up when under stress is crucial to avoid employee burn-out or boredom.
Reshuffling workloads is the best place to start, but if this can’t be done, take a look at your capacity plan and assess whether you can hire another employee.
Keep focus on your employer brand. As competition for talent grows, business leaders must look at how they attract the best people while also retaining their stars. Employers should revisit their employee value proposition and communicate this at every opportunity.
Investing in developing the skills of your workforce and positioning for the next stages of growth are crucial when employee mobility remains high. Jobseeker confidence is continuing to grow with 75 percent of workers confident in finding comparable jobs within six months, while just four percent say job loss is a significant fear.
Holding development, coaching and mentoring programmes is a great way to show you value your employees and to give them the opportunity to grow their careers within the company.
Give employees a pick-me-up. While the end of the year is close, it’s not quite here yet and now’s the time when employees often feel burnt out and demotivated after a long, hard year. Christmas party planning may be on the horizon, but plan another social event in the interim to get them through.
Remember that money doesn’t have to be spent to have fun. It is about acknowledging the contribution your staff are making to the company, so even an afternoon off to go to the beach can work wonders.
Work with your employees. Work-life balance is becoming increasingly important, and a key aspect of this is the commuting time required to get to and from work each day. Think about the opportunities for employees to work flexible working hours, and even remotely. If this can be done, start promoting your organisation’s approach to help retain top talent.
Remember that your organisation is not only competing with other employers for talent, but also with alternative work options, so encourage your staff to work smarter not harder.
Your employees are your biggest brand champions, so when you have your HR priorities finalised, make sure they are aware of all the hard work you are doing. Employees will appreciate the effort put into their working environment and through word of mouth they will become your biggest brand ambassadors.
When making your workforce resolutions—regardless of the time of the year—it is important to ensure these reflect your overall business plans and that they are integrated into the wider company strategy.
Making sure your organisation is an attractive and engaging place to work will be vital as we continue to witness a shortage of skilled staff, and businesses with the strongest HR strategies aligned to the overall business goals will have a significant advantage over the competition.

PAUL ROBINSON is the New Zealand Director of Randstad NZ.

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