Four Essential Best Practices for HR in 2016

Welcome to 2016! Although it’s already March, it’s not too late to cover a few best practices for human resources professionals, as well as how to analyze information about your current employees and help develop strong teams, once people are on board. So, without further ado, here are four best practices for HR professionals for the new year.

Diversity & Innovation

A recent Forbes article by Adam Hartung points out the importance of diversity and the need for HR to make a concerted effort to recruit outside the company—if only to gain a new and different perspective of the usual order of business. Innovation only comes as a result of change, and change is not possible without somebody being willing to rock the proverbial boat. In other words, you need to be willing to take a risk and hire someone from outside the inner sanctum, so to speak, to have the chance to gain knowledge and insight from someone with a different perspective.

Also, never underestimate the value of empathy and emotional intelligence, in relating to colleagues, job candidates, and new employees. You’ll need to base your hiring decisions on more than just skills, qualifications, and experience. As Gabrielle Garon emphasizes in a recent TalentCulture article, your expertise as an HR professional should include the ability to relate to employees as people, rather than merely team members or experts in their field. Relating to employees as people requires the capacity to look beyond what’s on paper and initial impressions, and to ask the right questions

HR, IT, & Data Analytics

The Talent Analytics blog provides a very helpful Beginners Guide to Predictive Workforce Analytics, which clearly lays out the essential components of data analytics for HR, arguing that “Predictive workforce projects need to address and predict business outcomes, not HR outcomes.” Hence a focus on the big picture and efficiency, as opposed to abstract factors.

Rather than trying to determine the best employee traits at your company based on your current workforce, for example, first determine what it is you need to accomplish with each upcoming project, as well as what traits are required in the people chosen to carry out that task. From there, you can more quickly determine the best ideal candidates for a given project. In this way, you’re focusing on the business at hand, rather than abstract predictors of success. Also, though, make sure to pay attention to the potential for turnover, retention, risk, and talent when looking for viable candidates.

Research & Development, Training

The best HR practices include keeping an eye on how to train existing employees internally and dedicate a substantial part of the company budget to research and development. This means hiring workers who can act as skill trainers and instructional leaders. Moreover, finding the best people to utilize as trainers means being able to identify desirable traits and talents desired in company trainers, and then to successfully recognize those qualities in both internal and external candidates for the position.

It’s crucial to focus on individual talents during the search for company training candidates, so as to match skilled leaders with an interest in and a talent for teaching to the position. Making sure that the trainers you pick are born teachers, rather than experienced project managers or product developers, can help avoid future frustration and lack of productivity. As a hiring manager, you can help ensure job satisfaction by using a talent assessment tool as part of the interview process, as well as making sure to focus on employee strengths and incorporate them into their duties.

Quality Recruitment

If you want to reach out to the best people, all while giving a nod to the first strategy discussed in this article (innovation), it pays to utilize the best sites out there. One effective method involves recruiting talent that isn’t necessarily applying with you for a position—for example, via LinkedIn. This is also known as finding ‘passivejob candidates, and it involves strategies such as networking, focusing on growth and satisfaction in job descriptions, and communicate with recruits as people, rather than potential job candidates.

In a recent article on the biggest trends of 2015, Meghan Biro estimates that nearly 80 percent of job seekers utilize social media in their job searches—and, furthermore, younger generations are estimated to use social media 90 percent of the time! Advertising job positions on a platform like Twitter, for example, will open up the field of applicants even further by making it accessible to a much wider, public audience. This can also help with the innovation component since it’s more likely that external applicants from outside the fold will apply for a position as opposed to merely internal candidates. Moreover, as Biro also points out, social media recruitment can be extremely profitable.

What’s the bottom line, then? Emotional intelligence and holistic, long-term thinking rule the day. Don’t be afraid of data, but at the same time, don’t allow facts and figures to be the sole determining factors in the decision-making process. In other words, think with your heart as well as your head. Here’s to a unique and successful 2016!

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