Innovative HR Solutions, LLC

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Will there be HR Generalists in the Future?

Recently there has been some discussion in social media as to the future of the HR Generalist role and is this type of position needed today?

Organizations are constantly reviewing whether to centralize their HR professionals or decentralize the Human Resources function.  There are typically three approaches regarding the structure of HR.

Decentralized:  If you have talented individuals that are resourceful, knowledgeable and are skilled in the process of explaining the HR programs and policies then the closer they are to support the business the better it is for the company.  Decentralization is the optimum approach with respect to building a partnership between HR and the business.  It is also the costliest from a budget perspective.

Blended:  If the HR staff lack the depth of experience then the goal is to train these individuals and hire “specialists” that can share their knowledge with the newer employees.  While these employees remain close to the business their lack of skill can often be an impediment to their success.  This structure also takes time to build and commitment from the leadership team is critical to maintaining this type of organizational platform

Centralized:  A centralized structure is a skilled and talented staff that are pro-active, reach out to the business units and provide sound advice from a call-center or centralized corporate office.  This approach is being used by an increasing number of companies that have 500 employees or more.  With employees becoming familiar with the self-service approach to obtain information about pay, benefits, promotions and career paths the need to have an intermediary is becoming less necessary

Today, organizations are looking for cost effective talent to support and partner with the business.  With budgets being scrutinized and HR metrics becoming an even more important part of the performance process the future of the HR Generalist, particularly in larger organizations, is very uncertain.

The future of the HR Generalist in larger companies (employers with 500 employees or more) will ultimately go away and be replaced with experts in a call center or corporate office.  The business units will only have an HR Generalist if they are willing to pay for this personalized support.  In our opinion, the business leader will determine that the HR Generalist is redundant and unnecessary.  Furthermore, the laws are changing rapidly at the state and federal level and with many companies having a global reach the need for “specialists” is even more important in today’s work environment.  The HR Generalist role is often one of sharing information that is provided by the corporate HR function anyway.  The timely sharing of information is critical to meeting the needs of the business and any follow-up action is often delayed as the skills of the HR Generalist are at times not as strong as the specialist.  This requires that the HR Generalist reach out repeatedly to the skilled expert in the corporate office to obtain clarification.  This takes time and costs the organization additional expense.

The future of the HR Generalist in smaller companies (employers with 499 employees or less) is a very different story.  These skilled professionals will continue to be relied upon, typically report to the CEO or COO and have significant influence on the organization.  They will also have between 3 and 5 subordinates who provide specialized services to the company.  Further career opportunities in this area will continue to grow and expand.

To learn more about what is best for your company Human Resource departments are often conducting employee surveys to evaluate department performance, establish year-over-year metrics, review the success or failure of the established programs and policies and finally how to best meet the needs of the organization and staff.  Consider conducting an employee survey to discover what your employees are thinking.

Monday, June 27, 2022

What will HR Professionals Experience in the Future?

HR professionals will face significant changes in their role at over the next several years.  Four changes are in the immediate future for HR leaders. Let us take a look at those areas that will impact Human Resource leaders:

1.  The use of digital data collection will result in the HR department migrating from a labor-intensive area to a specialized function where employee self-service will be the result.   Fewer managerial positions along with support staff will be the end result.  HR leaders will need to do more with less staff; however, the approval to automate and outsource as many functional areas will be encouraged and is an anticipated trend.

2.  HR will play a broader role in supporting the vision of the Board and leaders of the company.  Metrics to evaluate performance, talent management, retention and employee satisfaction and engagement will become a focus of company leaders as they look to leverage their successes and minimize their business challenges.  HR leaders will need to find new ways to evaluate company and talent performance that is numbers driven with less subjectivity.  Increased respect for the profession has resulted in higher expectations for the future.

3.  The use of outsourcing to meet the gaps in staffing will be employed and expanded in roles where on-staff employment was typical.  Addressing the issue of turnover, employee satisfaction, pay-practices and overall employee engagement will play an important role to meet the on-going labor demands of organizations.

4.  HR accountability will result in Human Resources demonstrating through their actions, that employees will be treated fairly and honestly.  Consistent application of the prevailing policies will require that HR conduct a periodic review of the compensation practices to determine that those employees that are exhibiting excellence receive the larger merit increase, auditing the promotional opportunities to ensure that only those employees that are excelling in their jobs are receiving new job opportunities.  Finally, HR will need to confirm that the learning programs offered to the staff are made available to all employees and not only those that are performing at a peak level.

In conclusion, HR professionals today face extraordinary challenges with respect to managing the business and at the same time meeting the needs of their employees.  Human Resources leaders need to take the long-term perspective and adapt to the changes anticipated in the future.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

What is the Process for Implementing Alternative Work Arrangements?

Some employees worked on-site during the pandemic, some have returned to the office; however, for those still planning their return, developing a strategy is critical to ensure success and the safety of all staff.  All successful programs require planning and a strategy to understand the changes in the workplace. Employers will need to communicate to employees whether they will return to the workplace every workday or have a flexible schedule.  A three-step approach as outlined below will help employers return their staff successfully.

Communicate the Flexible Work Schedule Policy

Following the drafting and approval of a flexible work policy employees will need to be informed as to what will be required of them upon their return.  A policy explaining the employer’s approach with respect to vaccinations, mask-wearing, frequent handwashing, travel precautions and a procedure for informing management of compliance issues will need to documented and then communicated to the employees.  A procedure for rectifying non-compliance should also be explored and shared with the returning employees.  Once approved, the Employee Handbook should be modified to include this new policy so that all team members are aware of the changes.

Obtain Employee Support for the New Work Schedule Policy

Whether returning to in-person work, adopting a hybrid work arrangement or allowing some staff to continue to work remotely, an employer should be able to clearly explain to its workforce the new work schedule policy, the rationale behind the policy and why some employee classifications may have more job flexibility than others.  Explaining the policy clearly will eliminate any misunderstanding or perceptions of favoritism.  Clearly articulating that working remotely is a privilege and if someone is not performing or is needed in the office, either part time or full time a change in the work schedule may be the result.

Check Understanding

While employees across the world have become accustomed to working from home or remotely, company culture and employee collaboration are essential to the success of all businesses.  This means that in many organizations, employees need to be in the workplace at least some of the time to support their colleagues, learn new skills and continue to be engaged.  It is very important that employers be very clear about both the expectations and the consequences for failing to adhere to the policy.  The best practice is to make these expectations consistent for groups of similar employees.  One of the best ways to ensure adherence to the policy is to check in with your employees.  Have regularly scheduled meetings to touch base, identify challenges and offer support.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

What are some Hints from a Survey Expert?

Over the past two years business in the United States has changed dramatically.  We have gone from exceptionally low levels of unemployment to a work environment where 40+ million Americans filed for unemployment insurance only to see a turnaround occur with once again low unemployment and a job market that is exceptionally tight.  Business failures and constant chaos were the rule; however, some semblance of what the new normal is starting to come into focus.

 During this time HR has played a unique role in developing polices to meet this challenge and as a profession we will need to adapt in order to continue to play a strategic role.  One area that will remain a challenge is with so many employees working remotely communication is a concern.  Improving communication and providing feedback through a targeted survey to employees can be and excellent way to guarantee that your work forces remain connected, engaged and productive.  Outlined below are several ideas for you to consider whether a survey is right for you.

Is a Survey Right for Your Organization?

Before you consider conducting a survey verify that your leadership team supports this type of initiative and is open to change.  If you believe you are ready, several ways to market the survey to the executive team to gain their support are as follows:

n  Your organization encourages accountability.

n  Your company is experiencing high turnover.

n  Your company recently completed a merger, acquisition, or divestiture.

n  You want to evaluate the climate of the organization.

n  You are looking to modify or enhance your policies and want to obtain feedback.

n  You believe in pro-active management.

What are Some of the Challenges when Conducting an Employee Survey? 

n  A survey takes time and effort on your part.

n  The company must be willing to act upon the results.

n  Your company culture must be open to change.

n  A survey is an on-going process 

What do You Hope to Gain By Conducting an Employee Survey?

Employee communication, while always a challenge, will need to be further enhanced to make sure that managers are successfully supervising their staff.  A survey will help you:

n  Identify company-wide issues.

n  Create a process that drives change.

n  Be a role model for others to follow.

n  Champion programs and policies that are important to the employees.

n  Encourage a work environment that is supportive and professional.

n  Support engagement based upon the core values of the company.

 How Can HR Implement a Successful Survey?

While the current business challenges are many, human ingenuity and the resourcefulness of the Human Resources professional has not changed.  A successful survey process involves meeting regularly with employees to communicate the company’s policies, procedures, strategy and vision for the future.  At the same time a survey gives the employee's an opportunity to provide anonymous feedback.  You will also be able re-measure your HR programs to ensure employee satisfaction and engagement are being met.  Creating action plans as a framework when changes in strategy are necessary will also hold management accountable.  Taking swift action to implement best practices will also demonstrate HR’s commitment to the long-term success of your organization.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Why is Employee Engagement so Critical to an Employer’s Success?

With the improvement in HR metrics comes increased competition, additional data and more information available to employees.  The engagement of employees and the reduction of turnover is very important for companies today and in the future.  An engaged workforce will assist companies in remaining competitive and productive.  Key elements of employee engagement are found in three main drivers of success.  These include:

Strong Employee/Management Relations:  An important driver of employee engagement is the individual employee’s relationship to their manger.  Is their manager supportive, an effective coach, honest and represents the high ethical values of the organization?   A manager that embodies these key elements will be a partner with the employee and secure their engagement.

Effective Communication:  Understanding how the company operates and the strategy for the future will allow the employee to become more engaged in the success of the organization by understanding where the company wants to be in the future.  Effective communication includes sharing the business plan and strategy, new products, financial performance and the vision for the future.

Job Satisfaction:  When employees at different levels in the organization enjoy the job and view their role at the company as challenging and contributing to the success of the company engaged employees are more included to give 110%, look for new ideas and be more creative.

Clearly, employee engagement is an important tool for the leaders of companies today to embrace and support.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Why is Conducting an On-boarding Survey So Important?

Research over the past 30 years has found that employee dissatisfaction is related to important organizational challenges, which can lead to absenteeism, turnover and work-related injuries.  Many current studies have identified that there is a direct correlation between an engaged employee and a satisfied customer and the end result is improved organizational implementation, employee satisfaction, enhanced customer service and financial performance

On-boarding surveys, originally introduced into organizations in the late 1990’s, were developed to measure employee job satisfaction.  Employers wanted to know how satisfied their new employees were because satisfied workers are more productive workers.  According to the Society of Human Resource Management 81% of all employers surveyed conduct some form of on-boarding survey.  Managers have realized that today they can ask employees about a broad range of important issues such as leadership, benefits, job satisfaction and compensation to name a few.  With this information, organizations can fine-tune their new hire communication strategies, work to increase employee buy-in and even decide to modify corporate policies.  There is a body of research which suggest that organizations that are in tune with their new employees can motivate them to do a better job and enhance the work environment for all.  An effective on-boarding process provides the means for linking employee behavior with company success.

Employee onboarding survey questions are crucial for improving your company’s onboarding process and it is recommended that progressive organizations implement onboarding surveys at the end of the first and sixth month of the new employee’s time at your company.  This type of employee survey can assist organizations understand where the challenges exist and take corrective action to improve the new hire experience.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Is Aligning Your Culture with Your Employees Important?

The culture of any company is the cement that holds the organization together.  A culture that is effectively integrated into the company, where all employees are held accountable for its adherence, along with a rewards program that supports the agreed upon culture will add value to the company.   A fractured culture erodes confidence in the products and services a company sells and can lead to serious long-term challenges for the HR professional and leadership team.

HR professionals should consider implementing these three recommendations to support the successful implementation of a culture based upon the mission statement of the company, the values of the organization and the strategic vision of the leadership team.

Communicate Your Mission to the Employees

Creating a cohesive organization based upon shared values will allow your employees to be make the transition from just viewing their role as just a job to a career with the organization.  The value of examining your company’s mission statement will ensure that the mission is aligned with reality and current practices.  Communicating the agreed upon mission statement to employees, customers, vendors and shareholders will ensure that all stakeholders subscribe to these principles.   

Hold Managers Accountable for Living the Company Values

An increase in stakeholder loyalty can boost profits and productivity; however, this is predicated upon the managers and the leaders of the organization being held accounting for “living the values” of the company.  Research has shown that ethical managers that communicate these shared values will lead to greater profitability and growth.   According the Gallup Business Journal (June, 2013) work units in the top quartile in employee engagement outperformed bottom-quartile units by 10% on customer ratings, 22% in profitability, and 21% in productivity

Employers today want to understand how they can secure more support from their employees.  On-going management and accountability based upon the vision, mission and vision will make it easier for the HR professional and the leadership team to determine how to best execute the strategy for the future.

Tie Pay and Performance to the Adherence of the Agreed Upon Values 

We all know that what gets measured gets managed with success.  Performance reviews are a great tool to tie the successful communication of the mission with the success of the leaders.  If the executive team has a vested interest in the process and are measured on their success of tying their decisions to the published values; this measurement will add accountability to the process.  While tying pay, accountability and performance is not a guarantee of success the outcome with be more probable.

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