October 14, 2013

Beyond Paychecks and Paperwork

In most small businesses and nonprofit organizations resources are always tight. When the role and purpose of the HR department is reduced to making sure “people get paid” and doing the minimum “administrative paperwork” required by law, so many of the other important contributions from HR are missed.Paperwork resized 600

If you need your people to perform well and add increasing value to the team and organization – and who doesn’t in this competitive environment – then you need to consider ways to invest in their growth and development. This does not necessarily translate to the need for lots of “programs.” The role of your HR function in staff training and development is pivotal in both staff and manager training and development. The first step is to re-position the definition and purpose of your HR function from “paperwork and pay checks” to “people performance:”

  1. Listen for interpersonal issues and identify emerging conflict before things intensify. The capacity to establish open forums for communication allow you to identify potential drama before it unfolds. You can then follow-up with people discreetly by offering tips for communication and improving working relationships without the need for damage control after things have escalated.
  2. Establish a baseline for productivity and inform supervisors and leaders when productivity wanes. Although many managers know what good performance looks like, they often do not take the time to document that and share the expectations with their team. One of the best ways to improve the learning and performance of an employee is to provide them with clear guidelines and direction for their success on the job. By implementing performance management tools, managers have a framework to engage their people in better ways.
  3. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of supervisors and provide them with concrete tools for improving their management. If your managers “rush because of time pressure” then you can provide a 20-minute micro presentation about the importance of reflective decision-making. If some of your supervisors “focus too much on the big picture” and lose sight of the details, you can offer an internal session about aligning strategy and tactics. Whatever the issue, the HR function plays a key role in identifying areas for improvement and filling those gaps with useful resources and tools.
  4. Identify top performers on the team and invite them to lead informal workshops to share their best practices. Rather than thinking about training and development from an “outside expert” perspective, consider your internal resources first. By tapping the knowledge, skills, and experience of team members, you can share best practices more effectively and also create moments of morale building that recognize and honor the contributions of people. With a little bit of coaching and guidance, internal experts can be just as potent as outside experts.

If you have considered your organization’s HR mandate as nothing more than “paychecks and paperwork,” consider this new approach if you need to get more productivity and engagement from your people. To support small businesses and nonprofit organizations, Sostrin Consulting provides affordable HR Consulting packages. Several of these packages include valuable training and development programs for employees and supervisors. By providing these learning programs, your organization can obtain the benefits of learning and performance for the team, without the high cost and inconvenience of “sending people to training.”

Download the free HR Consulting Information Guide to find out how we can power your people to perform.

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