HR best practices are a set of general guidelines applicable to any company, sector, or industry. They help HR professionals manage and maximize employee performance while minimizing wasted resources.
Human resource practices directly affect your company’s bottom line. Study after study shows that companies with best HR practices boost employee engagement and increase retention, allowing them to reach their goals. Following the industry best practices in HR can bring success to your organization.
There are best practices in every area of human resources management, including recruitment, onboarding, organizational structure, training and development, and employee engagement.
Check the lists below to discover where you are making the most out of your human capital, and where there is room for improvements.
HR Recruiting Best Practices
While most recruitment processes end with a single hire, every candidate interaction is an opportunity to raise the profile and reputation of your company. By following these HR best practices for recruiting, you ensure that even unsuccessful applicants have reason to praise you.
Streamline the application process.
High-value candidates may choose not to engage with overly long or complicated application and interview processes. Make sure the path to employment at your company is as easy to navigate as you can possibly make it. Limit the number of interviews to four or fewer. Make use of video interviewing to reduce the logistical burdens on interviewees.
Always be recruiting.
Use a talent map or strategic plan to identify positions that will need to be filled in both the near and distant future. Keep an eye out for potential talent and add them to a passive recruitment pool. Incentivize your current employees to refer their contacts for open positions.
Use panel interviews to check for culture fit.
Investing in employees who match your company culture is a wise strategy for getting the most out of your human capital. Panel interviews allow you to collect impressions from multiple team members when choosing someone to bring aboard.
HR Onboarding Best Practices
The recruitment and hiring process is labor-intensive. Once you’ve made the hire, onboarding can slide to the back burner. Ineffective training and onboarding are responsible for a significant amount of early employee turnover, forcing you to invest even more resources in the recruitment and hiring process. Use HR best practices for onboarding to maximize the return on your investments.
Have an onboarding program in place.
No matter how small your company is or how infrequently you take on new talent, you can benefit from structuring your onboarding program. An efficient onboarding program ensures a level starting ground for every employee and ensures that you consistently meet your legal and regulatory requirements.
Define clear paths for advancement.
Employees want to know that they can grow as they develop. Collect information from new employees during the onboarding process about their plans for growth, and initiate a training and development plan from the very beginning. Use the information you gather to update your talent map and plan for future recruitment.
HR Org Structure Best Practices
Organizational structure dictates how much power and agency different employees have, and sets a clear course for how things get done at your company. Having a clear idea of organizational structure is an essential HR best practice.
A highly centralized org structure relies on a clear chain of command with restricted opportunities for independent decision-making. Less centralized organizational structures allow individual employees a high degree of autonomy.
Eliminate other barriers before changing your org chart.
Restructuring is sometimes considered a panacea, but if underlying organizational challenges are not addressed, a fancy new chart won’t change anything. Eliminate inefficiencies in information and decision-making processes, and it might not even be necessary to change the structure of your organization.
Make slow shifts.
There are four main ways to structure organizations; functionally, divisionally, in a flatarchy, or within a matrix. Changing from one structure to another creates significant upheaval and disruption, so it’s not something to be undertaken lightly. Different organization types rise and fall in popularity, but this is one area where you don’t want to follow trends.
HR Training and Development Best Practices
Human resource management isn’t restricted to recruitment and onboarding. Ongoing training and development for current employees is another essential function of HR. Well-trained employees are more engaged and efficient. They are also less likely to leave for greener pastures. Using HR best practices for training and development can establish a strong culture of employee investment.
Use development opportunities to supplement compensation.
The best employees are motivated by their goals for personal growth. Support that growth by providing development opportunities to help retain valued talent.
There may be mandated training that you have to provide to your employees, but your development program shouldn’t end there. Use the information you collected during onboarding to make individualized training and development plans. Update the plan frequently.
Focus on skills.
Skilled employees operate at the top of their game—until their skills get out of date. With rapidly changing technology, keeping your top performers on top requires investing in their development, deepening their familiarity with existing technology, and providing access to new technology.
HR Engagement Best Practices
The HR best practices for engagement help retain top talent and reduce employee turnover while keeping the wheels turning smoothly. Don’t wait until disengagement is affecting the business to implement an employee engagement plan.
Listen to your employees.
Provide your employees with a variety of ways to give you their feedback. Surveys, polls, small group meetings, company-wide town halls – each is an opportunity to collect data about what truly matters to your employees. Aligning your engagement strategy with the needs of your employees prevents wasting resources on things they don’t care about.
Engage managers to engage their teams.
Managers are the primary point of contact for the vast majority of employees. A disengaged manager can carry that disengagement to every member of their team, while an engaged manager is ideally placed to make a large impact on employee satisfaction and engagement.
Consider non-standard benefits.
To retain top talent, you will need to stay ahead of your competitors. Extended parental leave policies or flexible schedule arrangements can both attract top talent and reduce your turnover.
Acknowledge engagement issues where they exist, and be open about the strategies you’re taking to correct them. Promote a culture of trust and encourage employees to volunteer solutions.