As workplace dynamics change, HR best practices also evolve and need to be redefined.
With a fresh New Year ahead, it’s the perfect opportunity to revise how you’ve been approaching your HR processes and detect which areas you may need to focus on to keep employees happy and engaged.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the 8 HR best practices you should keep in mind when planning and implementing your HR strategy.
But before we dive in, a quick question:
What Are HR Best Practices?
HR best practices are a series of strategies and approaches that apply to all businesses, regardless of their size or industry.
Think of them as a compass that guides HR professionals as they navigate everyday challenges and make decisions throughout the entire HR life cycle.
Typically, HR best practices should be aligned with what your employees need and want. After all, your primary goal is to attract and retain the best talent within your company. However, as employee expectations shift over the years, best practices need to be adjusted — and new ones arise.
8 HR Best Practices for the New Year
1. Selective Hiring: Find the Right Candidates for Your Company
Recruiting and hiring the best-fit employees not only involves evaluating candidates’ technical capabilities and experience, but also ensuring that each new hire is aligned with your company’s vision and values.
Selective hiring proposes a meticulous —and more strategic— approach to talent acquisition that goes beyond skills by considering cultural fit and seeking candidates with potential for long-term growth within the company.
Candidates are more likely to thrive in work environments aligned with their working style and values.
Here are a few things HR professionals should consider carrying out a successful selective hiring process:
- Promote your company culture in job ads. When advertising job openings, make sure your ads do a good job describing and reflecting your company values and culture. That way, you can attract applicants that fit your organization right from the start.
- Save time with pre-recorded video interviews. This can be an efficient way of pre-screening candidates and making sure that only the most qualified candidates make it to the role-specific interview. It can also help to assess highly motivated candidates, as it entails a little extra effort on their part.
2. Have an Effective Onboarding Program in Place
Hiring new talent requires a lot of effort. But it’s only the first step.
Having a well-crafted onboarding experience is crucial to set new employees on a positive and engaging path. In fact, making a great first impression can have a long-lasting impact on employee satisfaction, bolstering retention rates, and fostering a sense of commitment and loyalty towards the company.
If you feel that your onboarding process needs some rethinking, here are a few best practices to consider:
- Set clear, specific objectives. What’s the outcome you are expecting from this onboarding process? What competencies do you want your new hires to acquire? Use these criteria to map your onboarding program and to evaluate results.
- Leverage e-learning. Online training methods allow new employees to learn at their own pace —and with less pressure— while making it easy for managers to track their progress.
- Make it personal. Every new hire is unique. Different roles, departments or locations may have different onboarding needs. Take this information into account to create tailored onboarding experiences for each of those segments.
3. Provide Continuous Opportunities for Skills Development
Attracting top talent is more challenging than ever. In the last few years, working at companies where they can grow their skills and advance in their careers has become a top priority among candidates.
In fact, a recent study shows that 74% of young employees (Millennials and Gen Z) are likely to leave their companies due to a lack of skill development opportunities.
Providing skill-specific training is one of the best HR practices for this year. This involves creating and executing training programs to keep both novice and experienced employees engaged in their job and your company.
A few ideas for your training programs:
- Use data and technology to identify relevant skills. Reduce guesswork when planning your training and development programs. Use data to analyze market trends, identify skill gaps, and provide targeted opportunities for your workers.
- Combine different learning methods. There are multiple approaches to training that you should try, including e-learning courses, live webinars, and mentoring.
- Include soft skills training. Yes, improving technical and role-specific skills is important. But soft skills shouldn’t be underestimated. Soft skills training might include courses on communication, empathetic leadership, and problem solving.
4. Build an Inclusive Work Environment
An inclusive work environment celebrates diversity and fosters a culture of respect and open communication. This, of course, is much more than simply good HR practice: it’s a commitment that your organization should stand for every day.
Inclusive workplaces make employees feel valued and heard, enhance creativity, and improve decision-making by enabling different perspectives. It also builds trust and improves employee retention.
If your goal for this new year is to promote a more inclusive workplace, keep this in mind:
- Encourage collaboration between teams. Enable teams and departments to share ideas and knowledge. Propose activities —whether live or online— where they can interact and socialize in a way they wouldn’t on a regular workday.
- Offer multiple options to provide feedback. Employees should feel safe and comfortable expressing their opinions. Make sure to keep various communication channels open.
- Revise your hiring practices to promote inclusion and diversity. Ensure that you have fair processes in place and make constant efforts to reduce biased language from job ads.
5. Offer Attractive Compensation Packages & Benefits
Offering a generous, enticing compensation package is a strategic way to attract and retain top talent. But salary alone is not the only thing employees consider when evaluating a job offer: benefits can also be a real differentiator.
After all, compensation and benefits are a clear demonstration of how you value your employees and their work, and how much you are willing to do to keep them happy and motivated.
So, what are the best HR practices when it comes to compensation and benefits?
- Provide diverse types of compensation. Besides salary, you can discuss additional compensation such as bonuses based on performance, stock options, or even profit-sharing.
- Understand your employees’ needs and wants. When it comes to benefits, it is not necessary to get too creative. A recent study shows that healthcare, life insurance, and pension & retirement plans are the three benefits that employees value the most. The same survey found that remote workers, on the other hand, preferred other types of benefits, such as flexible hours or work-provided equipment.
6. Design a Solid Work-From-Home Policy
Flexible work models are here to stay. Working remotely —or under a hybrid model— allows employees to find a better work-life balance, and most of them expect their future jobs to provide this.
For HR departments, this means crafting solid work-from-home policies to support remote workers and avoid hybrid work mistakes. The main goal of these policies is to set up ground rules for things like security protocols, expenses, working hours, and online meetings etiquette.
If you still don’t have a work-from-home policy, here’s what to focus on:
- Working hours. Do you expect employees to be available during certain hours? Or will they be able to choose their own schedule? You should also agree on how to communicate availability. Are you going to use calendars or set a status on a chat-based collaboration tool?
- Security protocols. Make sure that all the critical data from your organization, clients, and employees remains safe. If remote workers need to handle sensitive information, such as customer payments, you’ll need to set up a private network.
7. Stay Up to Date with Regulatory Changes and Requirements
Here are a few recommendations to handle compliance this year:
- Bring technology in. Use HR compliance management software to collect documents, receive updates when there are any regulatory changes, and make sure every employee is hired according to the right local laws and regulations.
- Partner with an expert team. At Access Point, we provide risk and compliance services to help you protect your business. By partnering with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) you can relieve the pressure of keeping up with complex and rapidly changing regulations and let a team of experts handle that for you.
8. Invest on an HR cloud-based software to streamline daily tasks
HR systems help you manage the entire HR lifecycle as well as centralizing and organizing your employee data.
Every company has unique needs and that’s why you should carefully consider which software to use.
Here are a few things to have in mind:
- Employee self-service (ESS). In the past, HR systems were only used by the HR team, but now you can provide access to employees and clients as well. Employee self-service portals allow employees to upload and manage their employment information, saving you valuable time. Employees can also use these systems to submit time-off requests and wait for approval.
- Applicant tracking system. This tool helps you handle the entire hiring process, from posting a job offer to screening applicants, and generating data-driven reports.
HR best practices are the foundation of your daily processes and decisions. Even though these practices tend to remain the same over time, they can change as our conception of the workplace evolves and we need to face new scenarios.
At Access Point, we’ve been serving growing businesses across multiple industries, helping them manage all their human resources needs —from outsourcing to payroll and risk management— for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help your company keep up with HR best practices.