Many organizations look for ways to become “employer of choice,” a designation that means the company generally has low turnover, high regard for its workforce and a leadership team that embraces a holistic approach to organizational success. That holistic approach includes human resources management, the area that often is the launching pad for solutions to workplace issues that fall in its lap.
Low morale and poor engagement levels often are signs of job dissatisfaction. Morale and engagement are intangible and, therefore, difficult to measure. However, employee satisfaction surveys are helpful in identifying working conditions that may be causing employees to be less than enthusiastic about their jobs. For surveys to be truly effective, HR staffers should discuss the survey results and their analyses with the organization’s leadership to develop action plans for supervisors and managers. Action plans provide a road map for resolving employment issues and follow-up strategy for sustaining improvements.
Exit interviews are a reactive solution to turnover. HR staff obtains information from departing employees about their experiences with the company and the reason they decided to resign. The data from exit interviews can then be analyzed by department, position and tenure to determine which employment factors cause employees to leave. For example, higher-than-average turnover in specific departments may signal ineffective leadership, stressful workloads or complex departmental processes that affect the way employees feel about their jobs and the company. Proactive measures to reducing turnover involve two areas that have a positive impact on hiring decisions and employee retention; they are the quality of the selection process and the effectiveness of the company’s leadership, says Development Dimensions International, a global consulting firm that specializes in talent management.
Although personnel administration evolved into human resources management, many executive leaders and employees still see the HR department as a mere administrative function of business. HR should be involved in developing the company’s strategic direction, despite pushback from leaders who aren’t ready to include HR at the executive table. Overcoming resistance to HR becoming a strategic partner requires demonstrating the value of the organization’s most valuable resource — its workforce — and clarifying HR’s role in developing the workforce. In addition, many executives need to see the impact that HR has on the bottom line to be convinced that HR deserves to be a strategic partner.
Attractive compensation packages and flexible work schedules aren’t the only factors that create a desirable workplace. Job seekers want to know what it’s really like to be an employee of the company, says Steve Cadigan, an executive with LinkedIn. Social media, professional networking and social events, plus interactive features on the company’s website and careers pages underscore transparency, which improves branding as an employer of choice, suggests Cadigan in an October 2011 article, “Problems — and Solutions,” in The Wall Street Journal, in which columnist Emily Glazer explored the challenges that HR leaders face.
Compliance with federal and state labor and employment laws is a must for any employer to survive. The critical nature of compliance is an area that deserves HR priority attention. HR is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the company is aware of its obligations regarding equal employment, workplace safety, employee benefits, working hours and wages. Continuing education and professional development for HR staffers is one way to ensure they have up-to-date knowledge about compliance issues.