Tales from the Wendy House

How simple is your HR? It’s not a trick question but one that I ask when I meet a new HR client for the first time.  

HR can become complicated. Fact. The more employees, the more complicated. I’ll tell you why I think that is. Everyone starts off with the basics and then someone will say “we need a policy for that” and off we go. Several years later you have an employee handbook thicker than the full works of Harry Potter and your manager training is 2 days long – voila – complex HR has been born.

Example – the paralyzing bonus schemes that no one can understand, slow the business down – they may look great on a spreadsheet but in reality if our people don’t understand them, why are we then surprised when they leave? “But it’s a great scheme why are they leaving?” I hear you say. Perhaps, but if people don’t understand it, it’s useless. Harsh but probable.

Another trap is when you have a difficult case with just one employee. It may have cost legal fees, a settlement agreement and worse a tribunal application. “We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again!” I hear people say. “Draft a watertight policy for the other 5m employees!”. I exaggerate, but you get the picture.

HR is not the police. Well not good HR anyway. EFFECTIVE HR is strategic, cultural and engaging. It’s how we do things around here. 

People who are not engaged keep HR occupied. Spreadsheets keep HR up at night. Worrying about how to interpret the new employment legislation makes HR over cautious. Too much complication. Let’s stop…

How do we keep things simple then? We create a people strategy that reflects the company brand. What are we trying to achieve here? The best in class? The biggest? The most expensive? Once we work that out, we can then decide on what our culture should be to support that. How do we engage people to work on our great culture? How do we make them feel? How easy to we make it for them to be committed to our cause? The list goes on – but I can assure you it won’t involve a spreadsheet or a separate drive where all 500 policies are kept.

If you’re a bit lost with your HR, then why not message me and I can help you untangle your spaghetti of people management. Simple!

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