HR professionals must have saintly levels of patience. From payroll to performance management, everything they have to do just takes so long.
For example, a 2015 Glassdoor survey found that the average length of the hiring process is 22.9 days in the U.S.
There’s got to be a way, or two, to speed up the HR process.
The problem is determining when changes to HR sacrifice effectiveness in the name of efficiency. Knowing where that line is requires taking a closer look at an organization’s process and seeing what’s functioning the way it should and what’s dragging it down.
Here are five common HR problems that are slowing companies down and how to fix them:
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1. A Lengthy Hiring Process
Remember that Glassdoor hiring process average of 22.9 days? That might actually be a conservative number.
A 2015 survey from the DHI Group puts the average at 28.1 days, across industries, with the longest hiring time being 46.9 days in health services.
In an effort to find better employees, companies have added more and more screens for candidates. When it comes to creating an effective hiring process, quality is more important than quantity.
Instead of putting job candidates through weeks of interview screens, monitor the quality of hire to see which parts of the hiring process identify the best candidates.
Screens that don’t reliably weed out bad hires can be eliminated, making the HR process shorter.
2. Overwhelming Onboarding
The first few months of a new job can be tough. A 2015 survey by ALEX found that new employees are less confident about their new position on the first day than when they accepted the job offer. In fact, the confidence level doesn’t rebound fully until after the first 90 days of employment.
This is because a lot of onboarding processes are overwhelming for new hires. Information is dumped on them without much context or time to digest it.
However, HR employees who aren’t very familiar with the particulars of every position don’t know what information can be given later, or removed from onboarding altogether.
Have employees help simplify the process by gathering timely feedback and measuring the effectiveness of the onboarding process.
Ask new hires what made their first few weeks at the company difficult or confusing, and what training ended up being unnecessary for their job.
This will create a leaner, and much easier to digest, onboarding experience.
3. Manual Payroll
Doing payroll takes forever. A 2014 survey from The Hackett Group found that 25 percent of payroll leaders spend more than 50 percent of their time working on payroll. It’s a tedious job, but somebody has to do it.
Or can something do it?
Automating payroll is one of the easiest ways to streamline a necessary HR process. It not only frees up time for HR professionals to focus on other things, but also removes the chance of any human error.
4. Unproductive Training
Organizing employee training is tricky. A 2015 InterCall survey found that although 33 percent of employees believe current training is a waste of time, 41 percent want more training in the future.
Taking up large portions of an employees’ workday for training is only a productive use of time if the information helps them do their job better.
If it doesn’t, the training is just slowing everything else down. Instead of scheduling training programs for employees and telling them when to complete them, ask what skills they’d like to learn and how to best work that into their workday.
Better yet, create programs that allow employees to choose what training would be best for their position and career.
Then, have them complete it at their own pace. That way, workers have access to the information they need, instead of being bogged down by busy work.
5. A Faulty Feedback System
Employees want and deserve feedback. The problem is that they aren’t receiving it when they need it, or about the right things. Consider, for example, the annual performance review.
There’s a chance that an employee might not have had an in-depth conversation about a project he worked on until months later.
This leads to long stretches of time during which employees are unaware of how well, or how poorly, they are performing. And if there are problems, they can’t be fixed until they’re brought to the employee’s attention.
While it might seem more time consuming, in-the-moment feedback actually makes organizations more efficient.
Great work is rewarded more often, increasing employee satisfaction, and issues are corrected before there are a lot of consequences. Not to mention, large sections of time don’t need to be set aside for longer annual reviews.
Being a great HR professional takes patience. There’s no denying that. But that doesn’t mean HR can’t be refined to be quicker and more effective.
It’s just a matter of taking the time to stop and analyze the HR process.
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