HR: You CAN Get There From Here

R.E.M sang the words and they are sometimes, jokingly, attributed to people from Maine – “you can’t get there from here.”

For those in HR, it’s not an uncommon thought – there are so many changes to workflows that seem straightforward and so logical to implement, but getting buy-in sometimes seems impossible or not worth the fight. Or just as frustrating, you may not know where to begin to make changes to help improve HR’s contribution to the business.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Furthermore, you can be the instrument of organizational change that improves the bottom line for your company.

What’s the key?

Take it slowly – one step at a time – and follow the data.

Small Steps, Big Improvements

You just might be amazed at the improvements you can realize with seemingly minor adjustments. The key is implementing change incrementally, in small chunks that can be readily embraced by the people you’re serving.

Here’s a 4-step process for implementing real, beneficial change that improves the value HR contributes to your business. Note also that it is an ongoing, iterative process that never really ends.

  1. Target One Area For Change

You might have a long list of processes that are ripe for change, either due to a company directive or an area where you feel you can make an influential change. This might be reducing the time to hire for open positions, improving employee engagement or improving succession planning. It could even be as simple as automating some procedures. These are high-level goals that might seem unattainable or unrealistic to accomplish without a major company initiative and major resource investment.

  1. Review the data

Data presents a window to the opportunities before you. By looking at data such as current time to hire, level of engagement, skill gaps, characteristics of high performers, employees at risk of leaving and more, you’ll be able to isolate bottlenecks as well as opportunities for improvement. This will allow you to modify your processes and workflows where necessary. Simple changes can often yield enormous benefits.

For example, the data might show one simple operation (or single person or team) might be the only element preventing a significant improvement in your company’s time to hire. Maybe the approval process is bogged down at a particular place in the workflow. Change that one piece of your operation and the results can be monumental.

Or, data might highlight a particular team’s lack of engagement. With this knowledge, you can readily spot the root cause, whether it’s the manager, the employees or something else. Whatever the case, the organization will be better for spotting this information sooner than later.

  1. Re-Engineer HR Processes

With automation and data analysis embedded into your processes, you’ll now be in a position to make better decisions and improve the workflow of your talent acquisition and performance management operations. You’ll be able to handle exceptions faster and quickly adapt to external forces such as regulatory compliance changes. You’ll have insight to make better organizational decisions, such as who is best suited to fill new leadership positions.

Next, you can continue to review the data, confirm improvements have been made and continue to refine. Or, you may need to look at other potential areas of improvement. Then, keep going, continuing to improve processes and workflow. By continuing to look at the data to rationalize current procedures or change your workflows in an agile manner, you’ll be in a cycle of continuous improvement as you enhance your ability to contribute to your organization’s goals.

4. Transform Your Organization

Having achieved significant wins and real change for your company, the final phase of this data-driven journey is true organizational transformation. The data might reveal what actions to take in order to ensure certain top employees stay with your company. It can shed light on which managers and teams are doing the best job – and why. It will show you which people in your organization are most (and least) engaged.

With this data in hand, you can begin to make changes within your workforce to address the underlying causes of problems while better capitalizing on efficiencies and successes. This is an ongoing, never-ending process.

Bypass Obstacles One Improvement At A time

There are typically many roadblocks, real or imagined, when implementing change within HR or related functions. Taking small, achievable steps rather than attempting seismic transformation can lead to quick, huge benefits that have the added fortune of high organizational buy-in, due to the low-impact nature of the changes. The insight gleaned from data can lead to incremental changes in how you conduct business, which can result in faster time to hire, better hires, improved retention rates, improved engagement and much more.

Small steps, big results – you can get there from here.

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