Archive | October, 2012

The Importance of PHR Certification

31 Oct

A Professional in Human Resources certification is something everything HR practitioner should strive to obtain and maintain.

Compared to a regular certificate, the certification is much more demanding and therefore commands more respect not only within the HR department but across the whole organization. A certificate allows the bearer to complete a course of study without needing to pursue further education. Maintaining the certification, however, demands rigorous training and a continued interest in HR guidelines and procedures.

Issued by the Human Resources Certification Institute, the PHR certification indicates that a person has mastered the different elements essential to human resources’ work. This includes business management, workforce planning, employee and labor relations, compensation and risk management. It also requires about two to four years of experience in the field and knowledge of the various aspects of HR and how to effectively implement different strategies.

Once this level of mastery has been achieved and a certificate obtained, however, an HR professional must recertify every three years or will lose the associated title. More than that, it should be important to PHR recipients to stay certified so that they can consistently update their skills. A three-hour long, 175-question multiple choice exam is administered to those seeking a new certification and those looking to recertify as well. As HR guidelines change every year, so do the tests.

Every three years, PHR certificate recipients will need to refresh their knowledge of HR laws and practices. They must show that they still understand all the ins and outs or their business’ infrastructure. These individuals should also exhibit an active interest and continued effort within the company as innovators and program leaders, showing that they remain devoted and competitive in their desire to enhance the businesses they work for.

Not only does working with the HR department help those who are PHR certified, but attending seminars, workshops, and taking continuing education classes online will give them a broader view on industry-wide initiatives, as well as the opportunity to brainstorm new ideas.

As leaders, PHR certification means that these HR professionals have already shown several years’ worth of training and hands-on experience. As laws and HR guidelines change with time, they should continue to exhibit the flexibility and initiative that helped them originally gain a certificate. This will make them more valuable assets to their employers, who’ve noted that PHR-certified employees tend to be self-motivated compared to those without those credentials. Not only can an HR professional note it on his or her own resume, but an employer can use this to show their own dedication to employee investment and feel confident in the HR activities occurring on a day-to-day basis.

Getting recertification as a PHR shows individual employee dedication to learning as well as ambition to continually improve at their profession and in the HR department. It displays a working knowledge of all current guidelines imperative to good HR practices and compliance and ensures a continued interest in these pursuits as long as a PHR certification is maintained.

If you’d like to learn more about human resources training, visit our human resources essentials library.  We’ve taken the guesswork out of picking classes and training providers and used our HR expertise to make available essential human resources topics and high quality courses.

Attract, Manage, and Retain The Best Talent

29 Oct

Attracting the best talentThe biggest asset a company has at its disposal is the staff it employs. Employees are the face of corporate culture, the first line of interaction a customer usually has with the business and the spokespeople for the organization outside the office as well. Keeping the best talent on-staff can increase employee loyalty and promote a positive office environment, but it might be difficult for some companies to hold on to these desirable workers.

Understanding what makes some organizations successful can help human resources management identify problems and implement new strategies for developing the best workforce possible.

Connecting With Technology

There is a vast amount of information being created every day in the corporate world, and businesses are constantly finding new ways to interact, analyze and store it. Not all these devices and interfaces will be familiar to users, and upgrading existing systems can be costly, but these initiatives are at the heart of the push to keep businesses progressive and competitive, both as entities and in the eyes of potential hires.

Adding new employee self service portals, for example, can help provide workers with a way of monitoring their payroll, checking for internal announcements and connecting with other people in the organization. Businesses need to be aware, though, that training may be necessary to keep existing employees engaged, as being presented with change can be detrimental to workplace sentiment in some cases. While younger users in the Generation Y and Millennial age groups will take strongly to technology, these sections only make up half of the available workforce.

Workers Go Mobile

It’s important to be open and communicative with employees to make sure they have the tools they need, understand how to use them and feel comfortable doing so. Extra opportunities for education should be available to those who aren’t having as much success as others with human resources software and other services, as these are integral to the progress and emerging mobility of the workplace.

The implementation of bring-your-own-device programs and mobile networks in everyday practice are sometimes easier when integrated into new infrastructure. For instance, a self-service program with employee schedule tracking and payroll information may be alien to some users, but by making it accessible on a smartphone, workers will be more willing to navigate through software and experiment with new digital experiences. Nearly half of all American workers prefer using smartphones as a primary work tool, while one-fifth would like to use a tablet computer in lieu of traditional computers.

Social Success Strategy

Another tactic tapping into the mobile deployment universe helps those already using social networking and other online sharing sites by helping them communicate achievements. These tools also help employees in connecting with others in the same company, similar fields and with like interests. Networks like Facebook help advertise corporate brand identity, while getting a job on LinkedIn is becoming more commonplace for corporations and consumers.

The use of services like email and text messages are still popular and widely-used in the corporate world, but making employees familiar and comfortable with advances in business technology will quickly establish it as a leader and forward-thinker in its industry. This makes it appealing to job seekers, and backing up that positive corporate image with loyal employee statements on social networks will boost the volume on that message.

Looking At The Whole Picture

26 Oct

Have you ever had the experience of speaking with someone over the phone so many times that you build up an image of what that person looks like in your mind? If so – and most of us have – you probably recall the feeling of surprise when you actually first met that same person. Taller or shorter than you anticipated; younger or older; eyeglasses, hair color . . . the list goes on.

The lesson to be learned from this is that “limited information often leads to wrong conclusions” – and that lesson is nowhere more important than within your HR organization.

Your HR organization is the ultimate responsible party for assessing the value and performance of your employees. Of course there are “reviews” to help in this assessment, but employee reviews typically don’t paint a complete picture. And that’s because employee reviews evaluate a staffer’s actions only within the confines of the department they are assigned to – and not the departments that are affected by that employee’s actions.

Especially in the current economy, where organizations are being tasked to “do more with less”, many employees have gained responsibilities that span across multiple departments. And if you thought that it was challenging to get one manager to complete a review for an employee, just imagine how difficult it’s going to be to get two or three managers to work together to create a cohesive review for an employee who impacts each of their departments.

Difficult? Yes. Consider the following:

You have a salesperson who works for your organization. Their primary responsibility is to sell, so a look at their “numbers” is a good place to start when assembling a picture of their performance. These numbers are typically found in a sales or CRM software application.

But does this salesperson target a disproportionately high number of financially risky clients? It might be only be by looking at receivables data in a financial application that an organization is able to determine if this is the case.

And how about the “after sale” cost of this salesrep’s clients? Is this rep selling a sophisticated product to unsophisticated clients, resulting in a huge burden on an organization’s customer support staff? Is the after-sale support cost wiping out all of the profits from the initial sale? A peek into an organization’s customer support system would let us know.

All too often an employee’s performance is based on insufficient data because an organization just doesn’t have the time or resources to collect, compile, and reconcile all of this information.

Therefore — this process must be automated.

Now – before you get concerned that we’re advocating automating the entire employee review process – we’re not. What we are advocating, however, is automating the collection, compilation, and reconciliation of the employee data you and your managers need to perform the best reviews possible.

And although almost all sales, finance, and customer service applications contain some kind of querying, reporting, and/or business intelligence modules for retrieving data, those modules are inadequate for this task for one reason: they are unable to look at cross-departmental indicators.

Judging a salesrep by sales numbers alone is insufficient. So too, for example, would be judging their performance based on their attendance or absenteeism from the office. But – if a salesrep has experienced a decline in sales numbers (as shown in a CRM application) at the same time their absenteeism has increased (in an HRMS application) – now we have a definitive sign of decreasing performance.

This kind of cross-departmental collection, compilation, and reconciliation is available from a singular type of software application categorized as “Business Activity Monitoring” or BAM.

BAM enables an HR organization to fairly judge an employee’s performance because it compiles enterprise-wide knowledge regarding that employee’s activities within – and between – the various departments of an organization. Evaluating employee performance on anything less than that is a dis-service to both your employees and to your organization as a whole.

Reduce Redundancy and Stay Compliant

22 Oct

One of the leading problems HR professionals face is redundant documentation in benefits and payroll systems. Here are a few simple actions to cut back on filing errors that could lead to HR compliance issues.

Move to Electronic Files

Not all businesses are using computerized data entry methods yet, but for those still utilizing traditional hanging file folders, converting to digital may be a good idea. Not only will it create a single unique file each time, but it will make them easier to review and maintain.

Employ Unified HR Software Solutions

A number of different desks within the HR department may need access to the same files, and having files under a single software umbrella relieves the need to recreate this information repeatedly for individual use.

Try Employee Self Service Systems

Letting the employees view data themselves will make sure their information is up-to-date and accurate so HR management can focus on administration rather than just maintenance. This kind of voluntary correction and review are even used by the IRS to relieve audit loads and identify 401(k) discrepancies.

Reducing redundant paperwork will lower maintenance and potential error costs as well as make the job of HR professionals easier, boosting communication and timeliness of reviews and processes.

Employee Engagement Is Tied To The Health And Wealth of Your Company

19 Oct

There are certain elements in the workplace that lend themselves more readily to compromise and others that remain points of friction despite the best attempts of human resources personnel. Some HR employees may not understand why persistent problems refuse to be resolved, especially when they are promoting fun at work and other positive motivators, incentives and program. It turns out some of this dissent could be linked to employee wellness, as healthy workers may be more amenable to the working environment, while assessing employee motivation may shed light on why dissatisfied staff act as they do.

Adding to the push for healthier employees are some pretty sound studies that show wellness programs for all workers are probably the smartest retention-booster a business can pursue. These initiatives carry plenty of benefits for staff and the company itself, both in cost savings and overall engagement figures, but not all entities are willing to see the value here.

Choosing Adoption
For businesses worried most about the bottom line, there are many benefits to adding employee wellness programs to their portfolios. Still, not all entities are pursuing these options. Only around 40 percent of major businesses provide these services and only one in 10 small companies offers the same advantages. Considering the positive outcomes these programs provide, it may strike some HR personnel as strange that these services are not offered at all organizations.

Wellness Benefits
So what are these nebulous perks of adding wellness to benefits packages? In addition to a healthcare plan, these services are a proactive way of managing employee engagement, showing workers that the company cares about their ongoing health management, rather than just that they show up for work.

But bolstered attendance is one of the perks, after all. The National Business Group on Health (NBGH) found companies that actively participated in wellness programs and motivated staff to get involved saw a six-percentage-point reduction in overall absenteeism compared to those lacking the same offerings. What’s more, because employees who participate in wellness programs are being proactive about their health, they can enjoy lower insurance premiums and reduced disability expenses.

What else can employers expect from wellness programs?

Concerned About Costs
For companies that still think it would be too expensive to institute wellness benefits, consider a recent BizJournals report detailing how the Family Dollar Stores just instituted these programs for its workers, despite economic hardships, high unemployment and a consistent – but not booming – profit margin.

Yes, the Family Dollar Store – the discount entity that makes most goods available to its shoppers for less than $10 – found a way to afford wellness incentives. Its staff now receives such lavish benefits as biometrics screenings, health-risk assessments and wellness challenges, and if other companies have not yet noticed, none of these things are actually expensive. They are, however, good deterrents to disengagement and absenteeism, and they make employees feel more valued by their employers.

The Fallout of Failure
It turns out that not investing in workers in this way can be more expensive than the cost of the programs themselves, even if employees don’t use them. Despite all this evidence, about 60 percent of companies still refuse to incorporate them.

Workers at companies without wellness programs are twice as likely to have low retention rates and high healthcare premiums, as well as 47 times more likely to show up to work sick. If the repercussions of coming to the office with a head cold are not obvious, it may be time to check for a pulse – one person showing up with a cold means a week later half the office will be home with the sniffles. This is not only bad for productivity, but it is likely to raise ire in the workplace. Nobody wants to get sick, at work or otherwise.

For companies that want to find a low-cost way of reducing absenteeism, improving employee engagement, cutting healthcare costs and increasing retention rates, investing in wellness programs could be the panacea they are seeking.

Spend Time Fixing Problems, Not Finding Them

17 Oct

The other day I was speaking with a 93-year old neighbor of mine when I noticed that he was wearing one of those “medic alert” buzzers; I commented to him about that and got the following reply:

“It’s fantastic, Don – now I can go down to the lower part of my yard and use my chainsaw and you don’t have to worry about me . . . “

Tempted as I was to mention that at the ripe old age of 93 he probably shouldn’t be using a chainsaw at all, I had to admit that he was right. After all, prior to his informing us about his medic alert device, my wife and I would try to “check-in” with him every couple of days – just to make sure he wasn’t lying in a heap somewhere with a redwood tree across his chest.

And our neighbor summed it up best when he said “ . . . the great thing about this is that wherever I am and no matter what time it is, it’ll notify the hospital to send help . . . “

“Notify” . . . “send help” . . . Hmmmmmm . . . now this was a topic I was familiar with . . .

In the HR world, staff and managers typically rely upon reports to monitor employee performance. Much in the same way that I went next-door every couple of days check on our neighbor’s health, an HR staffer turns to analytical reports to keep an eye on employee absenteeism, drug test results, expiring certifications, negative vacation time, and the like.

But, like my health-checks next-door, how often must those reports be run in order to ensure the well-being of your HR organization?

Have you ever received an HR report only to look at it, discover that “something bad” has happened, and then say to yourself “if only I had known about this sooner . . . “?

Using reports to monitor the health of your HR organization is effective only if those reports reach the appropriate people soon enough after a problem (or potential problem) has arisen. And who’s to say how soon is “soon enough”?

Most HR organizations rely on “scheduled” (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly) reports for identifying and responding to critical HR-related business conditions. Unfortunately, those time-intervals are often
not good enough to enable the best possible response. There are simply too many HR situations where your ability to “correct” a problem relies upon the speediness of your response. And if you’ve got a scheduled HR report that runs every Monday at 9 AM and a problem occurs on a Tuesday at 10 AM, you’re looking at a long time before you even begin to learn about the situation, let alone do something about it.

What you need to implement are . . . “triggered” reports.

A “triggered” report is one that is generated when specific HR business conditions warrant it. Thus you could have a report that tells you about changes to an employee’s benefits – but only if there are any changes that need to be made effective today. Likewise you could have an “excessive overtime” report that generates only if an employee has accumulated more than 20 hours of OT in a given month.

The best thing about “triggered” reports is that an HR staffer no longer has to wonder IF a report contains information that they need to be concerned about. A “triggered” report contains actionable information; most importantly, the information in that report is timely and relevant. Because in HR, your greatest resource is time; spend it fixing problems – not finding them.

Meet Ian Welsh

12 Oct

Ian is a 20+ year veteran of the human resources industry and now currently operates a consulting business out of Toronto, Canada. He is a frequent contributor to the ToolBox for HR and The Search for Mutual Success. Ian’s posts are his thoughts and expertise on how human resources operate within organizations and society’s impact on business operation and HR’s role. Ian tweets from the handle @ianclive.

Joey Baird, Sage: You’ve been involved in the HR industry for a while now. How did you get started writing for the HR Toolbox?

Ian Welsh: Well I think I came across the HR Toolbox on LinkedIn originally. The Toolbox is a great open forum where lots of people talk about HR and post their blog posts as well. I contribute about ten articles a month, and over the past several years I think I’ve published over 400 articles.

Do you follow any specific bloggers or other sources to remain up to date on what is going on in the world of HR?

I do read a number of websites but nothing on a set consistent basis. I really enjoy getting the international perspective and often visit UK, Australian, and South African sites. Usually I find these blogs and sites through LinkedIn discussion groups. LinkedIn is great because there is a broad international base of people involved in each group.

Another source of information that I enjoy following is the Carnival of HR. That is a great sort of “cooperative” that brings together a number of different viewpoints that focus on different themes every few weeks.

What’s the biggest change or shift you’ve seen in your HR career?

I haven’t really seen major changes to HR principles over the last 30 years, the same programs that were in place then are still in place today. One area that has changed is ethics. Legislation really has led to large changes in this area, especially around government compliance. As soon as some of the major ideas were passed like nondiscrimination, affirmative action, occupational health and safety, and environmental, companies really took notice and focused on building their HR departments.

Generally employees embraced these changes, and employers wanted to be good citizens. In the past few years or so, though, I’ve seen businesses become more Machiavellian, almost ruthless in a way. Businesses are now prepared to buck the system and confront government legislation; they’re almost more willing to take the fines and punishments if they believe it will be better for their business. In some businesses this has really created a gulf between HR and management.

The trend then was to treat any program like compliance programs as a burden, and management was prepared to go against legislation if they balanced the risks and thought they would be better off. I think this also has a lot to do with the tenure of top executives now. The average tenure has gotten much shorter, so they are making decisions more for the short term rather than long. 

As a neighbor to the Great White North, are there any work policies in Canada that differ from the United States when it comes to work-life balance or work culture?

Canada has stricter rules around employment standards and various things such as social programs. In Canada, though, people aren’t as close to one another geographically, and many companies operate in multiple provinces. This really opens up the need to have employees who are able to work remotely and balance their priorities on their own.

We’re having a Facebook contest and giving a year’s worth of free HR training by asking followers to share their most essential HR management tip. We have to know, what’s yours?

I’d say that human resource professionals need to really put themselves in the other person’s shoes that they’re dealing with. They need to be practical and observant; they need to provide the value that is needed within businesses. They need to understand the issues and attack the problem, not pull some off-the-shelf program and try to fix issues that way.

I’m sure we have some HR readers who toy with the idea of starting a blog. Do you have any tips for newbie HR bloggers?

The most important thing is trying to write in a natural style that the blogger can maintain. Don’t write in flowery language with large words to just try to sound educated. Be yourself and use your own voice. Also, bloggers have to engage readers and introduce questions and ask for comments.

I actually wrote a couple of posts about this in the early stages of writing my blog. One was written about three months after I started so it really does have newcomer perspectives. The other was after my first year; it reinforces some of my earlier thoughts and also talks about some of my accomplishments.

Do you have any other projects coming up in the near future, perhaps new blog posts?

One project that I’m really excited about is an e-book. I’m working to bring some of the themes and thoughts I’ve had over my 400+ blogs into a more concise format. So be on the lookout for that!

Is Your Boss Playing Favorites?

10 Oct

Does your boss have a favorite at work… that isn’t you? You know what I’m talking about. Your boss makes “googly” eyes at the favorite. The two are routinely spotted whispering together, plotting. And when the time comes to choose someone for one of the better tasks, you know who your boss is going to pick and it won’t be you.

Here’s the most frightening element about favorites at work, they wield more power today than ever before. Why you might ask? Simple. Leaders (and organizations for that matter) are avoiding any and all risk at every turn. They don’t want to take a chance on anything and anyone who is “unknown.” Our friends in the job market will attest to that. Consider the following recent survey that was conducted by researchers at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. In polling senior executives at large U.S. corporations they found:

  • 92% have seen favoritism at play in employee promotions.
  • 84% have seen it at their own companies.
  • 23% said they practiced favoritism themselves.
  • 29% said their most recent promotion considered only a single candidate.
  • 56% said when more than one candidate was considered, they already knew who they wanted to promote before deliberations.
  • 96% report promoting the pre-selected individual.

Are you getting this? If there’s an open job, over half the time the boss has picked a favorite, and if they have, it’s a virtual lock that the favorite is gonna get it. So what can we do? Simple. Become the favorite.

Steps to Becoming the Favorite:

  1. Let your boss know what you are up to – Part of becoming the favorite is keeping yourself “front and center” in your boss’ mind AND not a source of worry or frustration. How do you do that? A simple way is to provide your boss a quick status update at the end of every week on how things are progressing. If they know what you are up to, they are more likely to trust you.
  2. Make your boss’ life easier – Anticipate what your boss needs and try to meet those needs without being asked. Be proactive in putting out your boss’ fires and they will love you for it.
  3. Make your boss look good – Get kudos and recognition and then pull your boss into the spotlight. Making your boss look like he or she is doing a great job is a fantastic way to get in his or her good graces.

So, what should you not do? Pretty simple, the opposite of everything I mentioned above. In addition, keeping quiet and silent, hoping to be discovered is a sure-fire way to get lost at work. We wouldn’t want that.

Today’s guest post comes to us from Brandon Smith. Therapist, professor, consultant and radio host, Brandon brings an upbeat, witty approach to the challenges of workplace health and dysfunction. Brandon is the founder of – a resource dedicated to eliminating dysfunction at work, improving workplace health and restoring optimism and focus in the workplace. Brandon also currently serves as faculty at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School where he teaches and researches on topics related to leadership, communication and healthy workplace dynamics.

Meet Charlie Judy

8 Oct

Meet Charlie Judy. Charlie is a global HR executive and talent management blogger. Charlie is a Human Resources Executive with expertise developed globally in organizations recognized for their people-centric environments; he brings two decades of broad and progressive experience as a strategic business advisor and HR steward to organizations and their employees; he is the global director of HR strategic development and operations for Navigant Consulting, Inc. where he is responsible for optimizing the firm’s Human Capital function. Charlie Judy is also the author of the talent management blog HR Fishbowl and tweets at the handle @HRFishbowl.

Joey Baird, Sage: We are huge fans of the HR Fishbowl blog and frequently share your posts with our followers. How do you decide which topics to write about?

Charlie Judy: Most of my articles really are consistently focused on making HR easier, making it more of an extension of who we are as people. I try to speak to how people can just learn to leverage what is already part of their makeup and not waste time on stuff that doesn’t add a lot value to the career experience.

When I first started the blog, the online space, especially around social media, was dominated by people and groups who weren’t necessarily living and breathing the practice of HR every day. Their voice was crucial but only one part of the discussion. I really wanted to make sure the true “trench HR” practitioner had a voice.

You’re active in social media with not only your blog, but also on Twitter. Do you ever get to engage with any of your followers in real life at either Tweet Ups or HR conferences?

Yes, I attend several conferences each year. I’d love to attend more, but they are just really time consuming. I will be at HR Tech this week in Chicago, and I’m going to try to pop into HRevolution as well. I’d put those on everyone’s lists.  

I also enjoy the national SHRM conference. It is a pretty amazing event. It’s hard to find an HR conference with that kind of scale. The level of vendor participation is great, the content is extensive. It’s important HR professionals hit this one every now and then.  SHRM in general has also really done a good job of getting more plugged into the social space, and I’ve enjoyed supporting that foray.

I try to make it to at least one State SHRM conference a year – I was the emcee for the Illinois Conference again this year; there were close to 800 people and, as always, it really had a world-class speaker line-up. It’s amazing with the volunteer organizations for the State can put together – these are no small undertaking.

Many of the bloggers on your FishRoll are favorite HR bloggers of ours, as well. Are there any up and comers in the industry whom you haven’t mentioned yet on your FishRoll? 

There are too many to even mention and I’d be afraid to leave someone out. I admittedly don’t read as much as I’d like. And I do all that I can to encourage others to get their voice out there…I wish there were more. The echo chamber is alive and well – we need to mix it up if we can. I’d encourage all of your readers to go out there and find a few blogs they love and follow them regularly – the goodness you can get from this space is first rate.

Do you have any other important initiatives that you support that you’d like to get on the radar of our readers?

Well, lately side project stuff has slowed for me; I like to front-load most of my speaking and other activities during the calendar year because my day-job gets tough towards the end of the year.

I’m involved in a longer-term project which will hopefully get some energy behind it here in the near future. Last year I spent three days locked in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with some of the brightest cats in the talent management, marketing, social media, and leadership space, discussing ‘the future of work.’ We put together a Manifesto around what we think it might or should look like. It is our fundamental belief that what work becomes is something we all have a large responsibility for and that only through strong grassroots efforts might a sea-change occur. We’re all getting together again soon to talk about where to take this next – stay tuned on that one.

We are running a Facebook contest right now giving away free access to HR training, and we’re asking people about their most important HR tip. What is your tip to share with others?

I have a list of well over 200 of them that I call “Fishbowl Logic.” One of my favorites is that “it’s hard making things easy.” If we want to be really good at delivering HR services to and enriching the career experience for our employees, we have to do that in a way that isn’t burdensome or extraneous or doesn’t bring any perceived value. One of the best ways to do that is to make it easy for them to access, take advantage of, and ultimately get something out of what we do for them. But that takes a real concerted effort. It’s partially about removing the clutter. But it also involves challenging every aspect of what we’ve done, asking why it is we do it that way, and sometimes not liking the answer.

I have to ask . . . do you or your family have any fish?

That’s a great question; I do not have any fish. I was home one day with the kids, and in a moment of weakness I succumbed to their urging that we go to the pet store and get a lizard as a pet. The kids were ecstatic. . But while we were there I realized that taking care of a lizard wasn’t anywhere as easy as taking care of fish. So we went home with the idea to try and convince my wife about getting fish. She didn’t like the idea of anything in a tank and set into how much of a pain my dog was already. So sadly we remain fishless (and lizardless).

The moniker HR Fishbowl comes from the notion that people are constantly on the outside looking into our profession; everybody thinks they’re an HR expert and with that comes a great deal of scrutiny and critique. It’s just like being in a glass bowl.

Who Governs Governance?

5 Oct

There are a lot of buzz words in human resources management that not everyone understands, but decoding a title’s meaning can still leave the actual job duties and its classification a cryptic puzzle for those in the business. HR professionals are trained to think about the best ways to get everyone on the same page, so if they are not clear on what something means, chances are it is not going to be used to its best potential.

Gaining a better understanding of what HR governance is and what it can be used for can help an organization vastly improve the quality of its people management. Treating the individuals in a company as unique people, focusing on their wants and needs, increasing their productivity and smoothing out performance difficulties can be achieved more easily with the right human resources systems and improved governance. We like to think that most companies want to treat people as their biggest asset.

Learning the Basics

In terms of governance, this individual or team of people is meant to increase oversight, reviewing essential processes for accuracy and accountability, providing follow up where needed in order to ensure that tasks are being completed in a satisfactory way and problems are being handled appropriately.

Governance provides and reviews oversight, including rules, guidelines and protocols meant to keep everyone acting in accordance with internal standards, as well as state and federal compliance requirements. It creates a secondary entity performing fact checks and other quality controls so that nothing slips through the cracks. These utilities can help companies make better decisions and afford a higher level of excellence for the whole organization.

One of the main purposes behind governance is to make sure that people are being cared for in such a way that promotes employee engagement and retention. These are very expensive resources to lose, and every time a person quits, the time and money put into filling that gap far outweighs the cost of training or improving the condition of that worker. Additional oversight of the HR process can provide a useful third look into the issues plaguing retention and satisfaction in a company.

Putting it To Use

Having a responsible committee for keeping track of how internal processes are running can be a benefit to accuracy and transparency, but considering that it requires more man hours from those in leadership positions, certain organizations may be tempted to shirk this responsibility and assume their procedures are fine the way they are. On the contrary, skipping the governance process will allow for more errors and a lack of accountability in the workplace.

There are a number of procedures within the business framework that can be improved and adjusted just by introducing HR governance professionals. These services reduce duplicity in file creation, maintenance and destruction, clarify reporting and maintenance processes, create identifiable analytics of business performance and make sure that all departments are operating in accordance with the corporation’s overall purpose.

Creating an entity within the organization whose only responsibilities are to review practices, look for better ways to conduct business and reduce unnecessary expenses can make the investment of human resources much more worthwhile. Most businesses are using practices that are costing them money instead of helping with savings, and a governance policy would quickly root out these problems.

Practical Application

Increasing productivity and accuracy is easy when governance is implemented appropriately. It takes a skilled hand, determination and clear ideas about what the business’ aims are in order to set up guidelines that meet these goals. Monitoring processes once they are in place is a simple task as well, which the HR governance leader or team will manage as best fits their schedules. Optimization is key with these faculties, but it is always best to have an oversight on these individuals as well to ensure they are doing their jobs correctly.

The state of Washington has directed its human resources department to construct and maintain governance offices specifically to meet these ends, but even here employees filling governance titles are subordinate to those in key leadership positions. Increasing transparency on internal accounting procedures and fact checking at every level is key to ensuring that tasks are being completed in accordance with the overall corporate message and standards in mind.

HR governance provides insight and guidance for human resources practices in order to improve on existing functions. These professionals can act as intermediaries, outline changes and provide analytics on what a company is doing well and what needs to be improved, creating a more harmonious workforce with heightened performance metrics.