Human Resources tends to be a unique department at virtually any organization. Unlike others, whose regular goals tend to involve focusing on their own tasks and responsibilities, HR is involved in promoting greater performance and employee engagement across all departments.
It’s important to remember this. Understanding the scope of HR’s duties helps companies appreciate the vital role HR plays in general. That said, HR professionals can be so focused on other areas of the business that they lose sight of their own.
Odds are good your HR department isn’t perfect. There’s always room for improvement. The following ideas will help you better appreciate what can be targeted for improvement, and what you can do to address those issues.
Consider the Department Size
Again, HR is directly involved with every department at the company. This means that one problem HR departments often face is a poor HR-to-employee ratio. To calculate yours, divide the number of full-time HR staff members at your organization by the number of total employees, and multiply the result by 100. For instance, if your organization has 200 employees, and two major HR staff members, your ratio is 1.00.
The average ratio tends to be 2.57. As you might expect, the bigger a company gets, the higher the ratio gets.
It’s worth reviewing your HR-to-employee ratio to determine if its high enough for your needs. HR can’t focus on improving its own department if it doesn’t have enough staff members to stay on top of all your other essential tasks and responsibilities. You might need to coordinate with executives to discuss hiring more team members.
Look for Growth Opportunities
HR professionals understand the importance of providing employees with growth opportunities in the form of training sessions, educational resources, and similar offerings. Employees tend to be more engaged when they know they have chances to build their skills and move up the ladder.
That said, this is another instance when HR can focus so much on assisting other departments that it neglects its own needs. Any HR professional could benefit from additional education and training (provided it is of a high-quality).
If you and your team haven’t undergone much additional training compared to employees from other departments, research your options to find opportunities for professional development and growth. It’s entirely possible attending the right seminar or taking the right class will give you new ideas for all departments, including HR, that you may not have considered before.
Review Your Tools
Employees also tend to be more engaged at work when they have the tools that they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. A person can get frustrated or discouraged if their performance is hindered because the company didn’t give them the right technology for the job.
The same goes for HR. Just as an accounting department can improve by taking advantage of the latest and creating accounting software, so too can HR leverage innovative tools.
Make a point of subscribing to (or regularly checking) websites and publications that cover developments in HR technology. Review their content frequently, looking out for any tools you think your department would benefit from using.
For example, perhaps there’s a new software which would allow you to automate certain administrative HR tasks. Using it will save you time, time which can be spent addressing other important duties.
You should also discuss this topic with colleagues from other organizations. Members of your professional network may know about tools you had overlooked.
Consider the Role HR Plays at Your Company
HR plays a vital role at any company. However, not every company recognizes this. Although HR professionals are becoming increasingly involved in making key decisions and working directly with other executives at plenty of major companies, there are still organizations that treat HR as a merely administrative department.
Discuss this with top-level executives to determine if there are ways the company can reframe its overall perspective on HR for the better. There’s a decent chance you’ll find that HR isn’t being given the chance to serve the organization to its full potential.
For instance, maybe a major decision-maker at your company has announced plans to find new office space. Choosing the right working environment can have a major positive impact on employee engagement and productivity. Yourself and your fellow HR team members likely have some insights regarding how to find a space that will yield such results. This is merely one example of a responsibility that HR might not traditionally be involved in, but perhaps should be.
Most importantly, monitor your own performance. HR professionals know companies are more likely to succeed when they vigilantly consider how each and every department can improve. The same principle should apply to your own.