HR Management & Compliance

Level Up Your HR Practices: How To Clarify Your HR Needs

HR is an ever-evolving road to finding out what works best for your organization and, most importantly, its people.


Source: Andrii Yalanskyi / Shutterstock

Finding the best solution is no easy task. It’s too easy to get bogged down by inefficient or frustrating systems and outdated practices and for the “human” element of HR to fall by the wayside. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Yesterday, we identified three simple questions that can help guide you through leveling up your HR process:

  1. Where are you today?
  2. What do you need?
  3. How can you get there?

The first step is establishing where you currently stand. What are your current practices? How are they working (or not working)? Previously, we put together a checklist so you can master this step and determine how developed your HR practices currently are.

What Do You Need?

This is an essential first step to leveling up; it will begin to spark ideas as to where you want to be. The all-important bridge between the two is figuring out what you need. What specific systems and practices will add the most value for your people?

Although this will be different for every HR team and company, depending on your current struggles, focus, company culture, and people, we’ve put together a few key steps to help you work out exactly what you need.

Establish Your Purpose

Ask yourself some initial questions and thoughts to help you establish your purpose and overall aims moving forward.

Why did you feel you should review your current practices?

  • It is currently a struggle to get people to engage.
  • Current practices don’t add enough value.
  • There is a lack of feedback culture in your organization.
  • The data gathered aren’t being used to shape future practices.

What are the specific outcomes you want to achieve?

  • Improve feedback culture.
  • Improve relationships between management and employees.
  • Provide better feedback and support for managers.
  • Better reflect company values.
  • Ensure feedback supports individual development.
  • Improve retention.
  • Increase engagement.

Listen Up

Do people find that elements of your process lack use or meaning?

For example, are people consistently complaining about performance reviews or finding the process outdated or unhelpful?

Or, maybe people have often voiced that they don’t receive enough feedback or one-on-one time with management or that they don’t feel that clear goals are set.

A great starting point is to pay attention to your people and take note of recurring themes and issues. It will help you work out what your company’s specific HR needs are.

Although you cannot 100% satisfy everyone (and this should not be your aim, either!), hearing the honest perspectives of the people who engage with your practices is incredibly valuable, leading us to our next point….

Ask for Feedback

Although people may already be expressing their opinions or feelings on current practices, there may be more you’re not hearing.

Depending on the size of your company, there are a few actions you can take to help you determine what people feel would make HR systems more valuable.

Asking for and listening to people’s thoughts and feelings will also be impactful in terms of engagement. People will feel valued when they feel their suggestions and contributions are of use and are helping shape company growth.

Surveys. Send out a short survey to gauge people’s thoughts on current practices and what specific suggestions they have for moving forward.

Companywide e-mail. Send an e-mail explaining that you want to improve HR for everyone, and enable people to respond with their suggestions. If you struggle to get people to engage with practices like this, you can always offer some kind of incentive.

Discussion time. If your company is fairly small, this will likely be the easiest solution. You can gather everyone together, having prepared them beforehand, and hold an informal meeting during which people are free to make suggestions to HR about what they would like to see put into practice.

Suggestion box. People are busy and not always willing to engage with surveys, e-mails, or meetings. Another option is to put a suggestion box in a common area—maybe a kitchen or break room—and have people submit their suggestions on their own time.

This will likely be a slightly slower process, as you won’t collect a large number of responses immediately, but combined with periodic reminders and nudges, it gives people a chance to think about their responses and anonymously use their voice.

Build on Your Current Practices

Wherever your HR practices currently are, some are likely effective but still have you feeling you can do more. Improving your practices doesn’t mean you have to totally scrap old ones in favor of something new. It can actually be more valuable to use current processes as building blocks.

For example, if your biannual performance reviews are working well but you want something more regular in place, moving things forward doesn’t have to mean getting rid of your current system.

Instead, you can simply implement one-on-ones that fall between the reviews so that feedback becomes a little more regular, the culture around them progresses a bit, and the reviews themselves become more valuable when combined with the one-on-one discussion points.

Finding out what you need can be as easy as optimizing what you have already.

Final Thoughts

So now you’re ready to begin the second stage of our HR optimization process.

Although every company’s requirements will differ, the underlying process remains the same: Use your knowledge of where you currently stand to establish what you need to do.

Keep an eye out for the third part of our miniseries, in which we help you focus on stage three of our process: establishing the practices to put in place to help you achieve your goals.

Bas Köhnke
Bas Köhnke is CEO and cofounder of Impraise, the People Enablement Platform that allows you to utilize real-time feedback, check-ins, reviews, and goals to develop your people and grow your business.

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