No matter what department you work in at your company, there is always one part of the business that determines how easy your entire workforce’s life will be; The Human Resources department. 

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The efficiency and streamlining of this department can be a crucial part of the motion to keep employees’ sanity intact, I can vouch for this from my previous experience in workplaces where the HR function has been virtually non-existent or so diabolically inefficient it may as well not exist at all. Is this me venting? Maybe. But here are the 5 Factors that I’ve experienced, or my company has had to deal with in client workplaces, of a definite failing HR function:

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1) Disorganisation

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One of the most prominent issues; referencing to my previous experience, the company I worked for had one crucial part of their HR function that stood out to me as being borderline nonsensical; the holiday booking process.

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I know, to some people this may not be a real priority, but it was to me as I crucially needed to book a week off to volunteer in India. The process went as follows: go to the cafeteria; find the shoebox (I’m not joking) filled with (used) ‘holiday request’ forms; dig to the bottom to (hopefully) find a blank form; fill out the form and add it back to the pile of forms in the (shoe) box. It was then up to the managers to sort through this box whenever they had the time and either accept or decline the requests. However, when they made a decision it was your responsibility to sort back through the (shoe) box and find your form to see if it had been looked at yet and whether or not your request was accepted or rejected because the managers (obviously) couldn’t remember who’s holidays they’d rejected or accepted.

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As you can imagine, the process was a complete shambles and resulted in many employees missing their holidays and growing increasingly frustrated with management and the overall quality of the HR function. But I’m not just here to distinguish a successful HR function from a failing one, I’m here to suggest solutions if your business’ HR function could do with a reboot; invest however much it takes into a HCM (Human Capital Management) System! With this you can handle holiday requests, complaints, memos, contracts etc electronically (you don’t even have to leave your desk!).

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If you’re a small company you may not have to worry about this quite yet, but if you’re bordering on SME I’d definitely consider at least looking at implementing a system like this, for the sake of your employees and your own sanity. Luckily, the company I work for now has this down to a tee and focuses on helping the delivery of these types of systems for our clients. Find out more here!

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2)

Lack of Empathy

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This is an issue that’s been floating around in the HR space recently with one particular large online marketplace; a lack of care and empathy from the HR employees. When times get tough in your workplace and you feel like you can’t turn to any other colleague for support, the HR department should act as a consistently supportive and helping hand for employees.

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Unfortunately, this has not been the case in many companies recently. One of the basic things you should really nail in your HR department, before you even think about the technological side, is to be a good person. Otherwise your employees will develop a fear and discomfort in their own workplace, where you spend a majority of your life. In a recent case, an open letter to the CEO was produced to raise awareness of the issue, but it should not have gotten that far; this is why you need to pay close attention to all of your employees and make sure they’re fulfilling their duties properly.

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3)Broken Employees

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There are many different factors that can cause your employees to be broken with stress, bogged down with complications or generally fed up with the place they work. Some definite ones to keep a watchful eye out for are: a lack of employee engagement; when employees feel under-appreciated for the work they slave so hard to produce they can understandably grow more and more frustrated and gradually lose motivation to produce work of any worth. Make sure to appreciate your employees for what they do, it’s a two way street!

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Also, if you’re still conducting annual reviews you need to scrap it immediately! It has been proven time and time again that annual reviews are ineffective, counter-productive and just downright stressful for your employees. At the end of the day, can you remember all the great things you’ve done over the past year off the top of your head? No. Reviews are still very important, but you’ll find that conducting them on a monthly basis is much more productive and manageable as your employees have a fresh memory of their recent successes and they’ll spend a much shorter amount of time researching, increasing productivity!

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Furthermore, the issue of Total Reward still remains in many workplaces. From what we’ve found, bonuses should only be rewarded to those who really deserve it. When you reward bonuses based on your employees’ individual successes you will discover a much higher incentive to perform well, leaving them satisfied and appreciated. This goes against the structure of rewarding annual bonuses for every employee, regardless of their performance.

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4)Lack of Efficient Communication

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This is especially essential with different tiers of management and departments that collaborate on a regular basis (e.g. sales & marketing). If a sophisticated system isn’t in place the consistency of this communication and the effectiveness will be damaged; it’s counter-productive to book time in meeting rooms for 20 people to have a discussion that should only take 5 minutes or just to ask a few questions!

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One great solution that has been emerging over the past 10 years is the use of HR software that creates a collaboration space whereby you invite the members of each team and communicate in real time with each other, keep logs of previous conversations and share documents over the internet. It’s simple, easy, effective and can save you a lot of headaches and time. Find out how we help our customers implement these efficient HCM systems here!

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5) Low Retention

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This is an area where HR can really step in and save you a lot of money; it’s a well known fact that the higher your staff retention the less money you’ll need to spend on recruiting replacements for the people that leave. How do you maintain a high level of staff retention? Listen to everything I’ve mentioned in this article; the more valued and happy your employees feel, the less likely they are to leave! It’s a simple equation really, the only difficult thing can be keeping engaged with your employees to ensure they’re happy where they are. Are you looking for a more in-depth view of how to improve staff retention in your workplace? Read our article about the “The 3 Best Ways To Improve Staff Retention” right here!

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Wish To Discuss Further?

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If you’re looking to transform your HR function or commence any major Business Change projects you can read our article that introduces the key pitfalls to watch out for here! Alternatively, you can download our March whitepaper “Employee Engagement During Major Change – The Key To Success” right here!

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At The Réncái Group, we deal with clients looking to transform their HR & Business functions every day, we provide Advisory Consulting and build the teams that they need to succeed. If you’re needing this kind of guidance at this time, please don’t hesitate in contacting us on: 020 3051 9077 or hello@rencai.co.uk

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About The Author:

This post was produced by Daniel McCartney at The Réncái Group – a specialist consultancy focused in building teams to deliver HR Change & SaaS/Cloud projects.

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