How Effective Are Human-Resource Practices?

When you invest in people, the returns will more than justify any costs. Follow these seven steps for success.

Dec 06, 2013

Author: Jalal Armache, Associate Professor of Management at the Lebanese American University.

Without people, organizations can’t exist. Without satisfied workers, organizations won’t produce at optimal levels. That’s why putting time and money into a good human-resource practice is an indispensable investment in your organization’s future.

How can you tell if your organization has good human-resource practices? Signs include motivated employees, minimal turnover rates, low absenteeism, and high employee performance. Here are seven steps to success:

1) Review and maintain systems and procedures. Well-thought-out systems are the pillars on which to build your human resource manuals, policies, organizational charts, evaluation system, job descriptions, application forms and salary scales. These pillars are crucial for legal compliance and for your organization’s well-being.

2)  Focus on training and development. Start each new employee with a thorough orientation, including specifics about your organization’s mission and culture. Prepare educational plans for all employees so they’ll have every chance to hone the skills they need to meet current and future job demands.

3) Pay attention to staffing activities (recruitment, selection, and placement): 

  • Find the best people for current and future openings.
  • Evaluate applicants to make good selection and placements decisions.
  • Focus not only on attracting the most qualified people but also on retaining them and motivating them to do their best work.
  • Predict how changes in management strategy and environmental factors will affect future human-resource needs.

4) Follow health, safety, security, and anti-discrimination policies. Be sure all decisions affecting hiring, training, evaluating, and compensating employees are equitable. Develop a “due process” through which employees can address their problems and grievances.

5) Implement a fair salary and benefits system. Perform frequent surveys to ensure that that compensation remains competitive with other organizations similar to yours.

6) Analyze each job to get to the heart of what’s needed to perform it well. Here are the steps to analyzing jobs:

  • Interview your organization’s top achievers to understand why they’re productive.
  • Identify key objectives of each job, and write them into your job descriptions.
  • Make sure employees agree on what they need to do to perform well in their jobs. 
  • Ascertain what training is needed for each job.

7) Use performance appraisals to maintain accountability throughout the organization. Help supervisors coach employees to fulfill their highest potential. Manage performance using these tips:

  • Identify people with promotion potential, and pin-point their needs for training and development.
  • Give employees constant feedback on their performance.
  • Maintain back-up data for management decisions concerning merit increases, transfers, dismissals, and so on.
  • Ask employees if they need anything further to perform their jobs well. Follow up their suggestions.

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