Top 10 HR Tips to boost your company profits

Rachel Blackburn, Director, US2U Consulting

Getting the best from one of your most expensive and temperamental assets - your people - is an on-going challenge. 
Here are our top 10 Human Resource Management tips:

1 Recruitment Strategy: Managing your recruitment, selection and induction well should provide you with the right employees in the right place, at the right time, so look at resourcing strategically and build anticipated requirements into your business plan.    Global players are focussing on talent management right now, not restructuring.  Why?  Because in a recession there is an opportunity to hire the best skills for the lowest price – and when the upturn comes they will be one step ahead of their competitors in the scramble for sought-after skills. 

2 Job Descriptions: A good job description should include the main purpose of the job, main tasks and the scope of the job.   From this you can then draw up a person specification – a profile of the skills and aptitudes considered essential and desirable in the jobholder.   These are the essential building blocks of a sound recruitment process. 

3 Assessment: A range of ways of assessing candidates such as application forms, structured interviews, psychometric profiling and tests, assessment centres and role plays can be used depending on the nature of the job, the skills of the recruiter and the budget for recruitment.    Interviews alone are not usually a good enough guide to the suitability of candidates.

4 Training: If people involved in recruitment aren’t properly trained they may select unsuitable candidates. They may also discriminate unlawfully on the grounds of: age; disability; gender identity; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation.  There is no limit to the amount that candidates can claim if they believe they have been unfairly treated at the recruitment stage so protect your business and make sure anyone involved in the recruitment process is trained and competent. 

5 Appraisal: Make sure you are getting the best out of your people by regularly reviewing progress against clear goals.   Appraisals work best where there is a tailored competency framework which encourages your staff to use behaviours appropriate to your organisation and its brand values.  If your existing performance management / appraisal scheme has become tired and ineffective now is the time to review it. 

6 Engagement: Look after your employees and help them achieve their career goals by ensuring they have personal development plans and provide them with opportunities for personal growth.   Why?  Motivated happy employees are more likely to be more productive and deliver excellent customer service. Carry out regular employee surveys to find out what your employees really think. Support flexibility in the workplace; enabling employees to balance their working life with their private life should increase their levels of engagement and loyalty to your business. 

7 Performance Management:  Regular reviews mentioned above can help to improve employees’ effectiveness by identifying strengths and weaknesses and determining how their strengths can be best utilised and their weaknesses overcome. They can help to reveal problems which may be restricting employees’ progress and causing inefficient work practices.  If these problems are not resolved by support and training, or by changing work practices, the effect on the organisation can be toxic.  Grasp the nettle and manage poor performance promptly and effectively whilst minimising risk to the organisation by using fair and transparent processes carried out by properly trained managers.     Get external help early on in the process if you need it. 

8 Role of the Line Manager:  The line manager is the critical relationship when measuring levels of engagement in your business; make sure yours are trained, competent and manage their people properly.   They should carry out regular appraisals, hold regular team and individual meetings, manage poor performance as well as the good, and act as a role model for your business. 

9 Managing Change strategically:  A common path to growth for successful businesses is to acquire other businesses which align with or complement your own.   However reports in the financial press show that acquisitions often fail because of woolly concepts such as ‘culture’ or ‘people’.   It is baffling that organisations willing to spend millions continue to miss out on this key piece of the puzzle.   If you have plans for growth ensure that you understand the culture of your own organisation fully, before you take on the culture of another.   

10 And finally….. set aside some time and resources to invest in HR and you will reap the rewards.    Can you really afford to miss out on a 20% increase in performance?

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