By James Sheehan
Every HR team faces problems both in the running of their department and in the consistent enforcement of policies across the company in general. Here are the top ten issues facing HR teams in the UK and how they can be addressed.
Many people think that the main task of Human Resources is to source and employ new talent. However, the truth is that most HR activities revolve around retaining existing talent.
Employees are the lifeblood of every company, providing the skills and experience required to keep productivity levels up. Your business will also have invested significant time and money into ensuring maximum productivity wherever possible. And the key HR responsibility is to protect this valuable asset.
Employee retention is a fine balancing act between company culture, remuneration and incentives. The HR department needs to provide each employee with the right combination of all three to satisfy the employee without compromising company interests in the process. They also need to keep accurate records of these combinations to ensure that the agreed packages are being delivered to employees.
Whether to complement the existing workforce or to replace staff lost through natural attrition, the second major challenge facing the Human Resources’ department is recruitment of talent. Finding staff with the correct blend of skills, personality and motivation is difficult, even when the pool of available candidates is relatively large.
Whether recruitment is handled solely by the internal HR department, or with the assistance of a third party, it is essential that the process is managed centrally and effectively. Where there are dozens of applications, the details of each will need to be recorded for review and comparison.
An HR software platform allows for storage of applications, CVs and contact details for easy analysis and comparison. Depending on company data retention policies, applications can be stored for months or years in anticipation of new roles becoming available in that period.
As an added benefit, having the details of a selection of suitable candidates available for easy consideration cuts future recruitment costs and shortens the time taken to plug a skills gap. Speeding the recruitment process in this way prevents drops in productivity and morale.
With the workforce headcount issues sorted, the Human Resources team must next look at productivity levels to ensure that the business is operating efficiently. Where productivity is low, HR needs to know whether the problem is caused by poor working practices or lack of resources.
This determination is often made by carrying out a Time and Motion (T&M) study to define who does what and how. This study can then be used to identify potential efficiency gains and pave the way for future capital investment to improve productivity and conditions.
Using an integrated HR software platform, senior management and the HR team can store and analyse the T&M data collaboratively. The HR system can also retain this data to provide historical context for later studies to provide a benchmark and to accurately measure improvements made.
4. Training and Compliance
Training is an essential aspect of employee development, both for their own education but also to ensure you continue to get the best from your workforce. Certain roles demand official training and certification, such as CORGI registration for gas installers, many of which also have a lifespan for renewal.
Although the employee bears some responsibility for keeping a track of their own professional registrations, if your business relies on their certified skills, it makes sense to track this information for your own records. If your business has agreed to pay for exams or registration fees, you can keep track of when these payments are due. You can also alert the employee involved, schedule cover for absence during exams, and arrange payments to prevent lapses.
Even where training takes place in-house, recording course attendance in a central HR system allows for at-a-glance assessment of workforce skills and regulatory compliance. Has every member of staff received their full induction training? Has anyone missed the annual fire alarm training and needs a refresher? Have internal promotion candidates completed all the relevant courses for the new role? Keeping details of training can help answer all these questions and more.
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