Why HR needs investment too

 Scaling a company’s human resources department is often seen as increasing the number of employees in that department to the untrained eye. The reality is that there is far more to an effective human resources expansion than simply hiring more human resources personnel. In fact, these considerations beyond personnel quantity are growing in importance with the technology expansion of the past decades, and will only see a further parabolic growth in importance.

Continuing education and training opportunities are a cornerstone of professional growth programs for any department in your business. Your HR department is no different, and arguably should face prioritization in this effort since the efficacy of your HR department directly correlates with morale of all of your employees. To illustrate this example, if your HR department is trained on implementing and managing an employee health rewards/incentives program, your HR department gains a skill that can be leveraged to incentivize all of your employees to achieve healthy goals; healthy employees are more productive employees.

As another example of effective and intelligent HR scaling, training your HR department on company-external regulations (we’d hope they know the internal ones) on protected populace standards provides a brand image to your employees and customers that grows in importance with the growth of your company. While nobody would reasonably expect the mom-and-pop shop with four employees to know the precise regulations regarding military leave under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SCRA,) it reflects poorly on a company with hundreds of employees to not have a HR ‘in the know’ on this policy. Scaling your HR effectively in this area can be accomplished via a combination of methodologies, including continuing education on special demographics and consolidated information which is rapidly obtainable via technology used in Human resources management. Technology has had a huge impact on the work area and HR department. Much of this technology changes. For example, HR software for SMEs made a huge impact on HR professionals. Such software mainly focuses on monitoring Key performance indicators (KPI).

The days of sticky notes and frenzied scribbling are in the past if you wish for your business to be viewed as a competent operation. Your HR department should take the lead in this brand image. Since your HR department handles very sensitive information, information security should be a cornerstone of their training program. This starts with a “common sense” approach, with a focus on not overlooking things a clumsy person would. As an example of a critical HR tech faux pas, if there is a sensitive employee meeting with HR scheduled, it should be listed as a “private” calendar event, which would only indicate to outsiders that the employee is “busy” during that time. A failure to do this could mean that other employees know that John Smith is meeting with Jane Doe about alleged theft complaints of John’s employee; and even if John’s employee is entirely innocent, his reputation will take a hit, and his work performance will absolutely be visibly affected as the anxiety flys through the roof.

As we all know in business, time is money. Process optimization and improvement is something all of your departments (hopefully) conduct on the regular; your HR should be no different. One of the most time-intensive tasks in a typical HR department is the onboarding process for recently hired employees. Ensuring that your HR department is keeping a pulse on industry best practices for the onboarding process ensures that this process is done quickly, yet thoroughly, and ultimately efficiently. Thanks to advances in modern technology, it has become more and more possible to truly have the best of both worlds in onboarding.

Your HR department should be cross-training in other skill sets, or even other roles. While this may come across as unconventional advice, there is a strong foundation of business reasoning behind this suggestion. Take for example cross-training HR with your business analysts, where your HR department learns some fun and highly useful skills like project values and opportunity costs. Your HR department can then quantify what making (otherwise) seemingly trivial decisions actually means to your business for you. As a fantastic example of the aforementioned, your HR department could analyze the best decision about removing an aging tattoo policy within your business, determining whether the opened pool of highly-qualified talent with tattoos would provide more value than the negative perception of people that dislike tattoos. Your HR department can then modify the policy for you after your review of proposed changes backed by good old trusty numbers, and the entire process has become far more efficient.

If you’re investing in training and networking opportunities for your employees, your HR department must be included in this. HR is arguably the most opportune department to foster benefits of idea cross-pollination from via attendance in industry and networking events. Your HR personnel can acquire best practices for the endless tasks and varied duties they perform on a daily basis from HR personnel experiencing equally varied duties in other firms. Best yet, as your HR personnel network, they’ll establish ‘lifelines’ in other HR personnel, ensuring that they have a solid foundation of knowledge for even the most sticky of HR situations.

Growth starts with a number of different answers in business. However, one truth is inarguably predominant in business decisions: never neglect your HR. To neglect your HR is to neglect all of your employees. Scale smartly and make HR growth the priority your employees deserve it to be. Your employees will thank you with results, efficiency, and longevity, knowingly or not.

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