10 best HR practices you need to adopt ASAP

Last updated:
June 22, 2021
June 13, 2022
min read
Adrie Smith
Table of contents

With the wheel of time is rapidly rolling towards the second decade of the 21st century, are your best HR practices sync?

Hiring and retaining staff in an environment of constant change and evolving technology is tough enough. Add to that the reality that each year brings a new wave of young job seekers with a different mindset to previous generations. The picture becomes clear: in 2020 things aren’t the same.

HR practitioners can’t cruise along the same-old, same-old path of yesterday. Today, HR is no longer a staid department of paper-pushers; it’s a vibrant and innovative hub with its finger on the pulse of business strategies and advancements in HR tech.

Modern HR ensures continued business success by being aware of and meeting employee expectations, aided by technology.

What exactly are the best HR practices?

Even if you’ve implemented internal policies and procedures, your HR practices won’t just fall into place. You need to focus on adopting what will work for your business. And to do that you must understand the concept first.HR practices won’t just fall into place. You need to focus on adopting what will work for your business. And to do that you must understand the concept first.

The best HR practices are a set of universal HR process that will lead to increased business performance, irrespective of the type of business or industry.

That sounds like a one-size-fits-all show, and those usually don’t work that well. Compiling a winning set of best Human Resources practices is a combination of universal processes and best fit procedures that align the needs of the company with employee expectations.

Human resources best practices checklist

Here’s a checklist of 10 best HR practices to consider implementing before the end of 2021:

1. Matching company needs with employee expectations

HR must be included in all business strategy planning and implementation. HR also needs to be the catalyst of open and honest employee engagement between employees and management.

It’s not uncommon for HR and management to be totally out of touch with employee experiences and perceptions. Likewise, employees often have an unrealistic view of their role, remuneration, and the company.

Why it works:

Aligning the needs of the company and employees leads to better hiring decisions and encourages employee buy-in. People who fit into an organization and feel valued want to add value and go the extra mile. Employees are crucial to the success of any business strategy.

2. Align business needs with HR recommendations

For any business practices to work, all individual process must be aligned. Data-driven software simplifies compiling a list of best HR practices by giving you access to real-time metrics and analytics. That way you can quickly identify areas where HR needs to step up and areas that are working well.

Work closely with top and line management to identify each department’s needs and also identify hot spots that need immediate attention. When analyzing troubled areas in the business be sure to evaluate internal systems and management skills before making recommendations.

Why it works:

Once you have a complete picture, you can start compiling and implementing great HR practices to improve business performance and increase employee retention.

3. Recruitment and selection processes

Have your recruitment and selection processes developed in tandem with changing business strategies?  It’s almost effortless to slip into a comfort zone, and once we’re there, it takes quite a while to realize that things aren’t working anymore

.If your company or specific departments are making one bad hire after the next, it’s time for introspection and a review of your hiring processes. If you haven’t yet, now is the time to invest in an ATS so that you can bring your recruitment online.

Why it works:

No business (no matter how small) can successfully hire staff without a recruitment and selection process in place.

4. Employee compensation

It’s essential that HR keep abreast with current salary trends and also keeps line management informed. There are plenty of up to date salary surveys, like PayScale, that you can subscribe to for regular updates.

If your organization doesn’t pay well, it will soon leak into the candidate market, and you won’t be able to attract top talent. Not only that, if staff realize that there are better-paid opportunities out there, you’ll soon have a slew of resignations to deal with. The age-old saying “loyalty is in your back pocket” is still as true as ever.Understanding the ins and outs of annual compensation is key.

Discuss employee compensation with your hiring team as soon as a vacancy is identified so that the job can be put out there offering an appropriate total rewards package (not just salary). That way you can attract the best candidates and be sure that job offers are accepted. People who’re paid well are less inclined to look for another job.

Why it works:

Apart from budgets, it’s important to know what a candidate is worth and what the company can afford. That allows you to decide what level of skills you need and how much you can invest in a position.

5. Selective recruitment

There are always certain knowledge-based positions in a company that require a unique skill set. And skills shortages are set to increase as technology and business outpaces candidate experience and education. Highly technical skills are easier to find than specialized soft skills, and technical ability can be tested with skills assessments. Soft skills, however, can’t be verified from a CV and series of interviews. This is when psychometric assessments can be a lifesaver.

Hard to fill vacancies are becoming more common, and so is the temptation to hire someone who “might” be right for the role. Unfortunately, that often sets you up for a fall-out meaning that you have to start the hiring process all over again. Not ideal!  

Develop a hiring strategy specifically for those difficult to fill roles that includes joining professional groups on social media where your perfect candidate will be hanging out. Regular engagement within these groups will soon yield quality candidates for your talent pool.

Why it works:

The time invested in social media engagement is twofold; it promotes your employer brand, and it attracts talent. Psychometric assessments and help you identify invisible skills. That’s why both have a place in your best HR practices.

And maybe not:

Social media engagement outside of specialized groups can see you being inundated with unsolicited applications from candidates you can’t place. Also, for positions that are easy to fill, psychometric assessments are a waste of time and money.

6. Training and development

It’s no secret that today’s workforce values training and development very highly. Upskilling employees adds value for businesses because it means that you can fill future vacancies with trusted staff. It also increases employee retention and builds loyalty.

Training and development must however never become unstructured, and only employees who already add value should be considered. Implementing blanket training programs is a sure way to waste money and get taken for granted. Slackers will do anything to get out of the workplace for free, but don’t expect them to utilize what they’ve learnt.

Why it works:

Focused and motivated staff are eager to contribute to the success of an organization. Training makes them feel valued and empowered, leading to their wanting to play a more significant role in the company.

And maybe not:

Training must be earned because it’s an investment. Don’t invest in plodders who have no intention of buying into the company’s vision and success.

7. Engagement and open communication

Engagement and communication begins as soon as a new job opening comes up. Ongoing engagement between members of the hiring team is key to success. Proper communication with applicants and candidates throughout the hiring process says as much about your employer brand as it will contribute to making a good hire.

Employee engagement is essential from onboarding to exit interviews. HR plays a crucial role in employee engagement and has the responsibility of ensuring involvement by promoting an environment of mutual trust. Open and transparent communication encourages innovation, collaboration and the sharing of ideas and experiences. Also, exit interviews are a hive of information if they’re appropriately conducted, even if the company has terminated an employee’s service.

Why it works:

People who feel secure about voicing their opinions bring an element of diversity and are a source of untapped information. This can lead to the resolution of internal problems, and can also expose fresh ideas that add value to the business.

8. Business transparency and access to information

There’s little value in trying to build a good employer brand if everything is kept a secret from employees. Business transparency and easy access to information is reciprocal because it promotes trust and better employee engagement.

A closed-card environment leads to lack of employee buy-in, and often fear, particularly in harsh trading conditions. Never sharing business successes and failures with staff can make people feel as though their efforts are unappreciated which leads to demotivation and a lack of productivity. It’s challenging to re-motivate a flat workforce, and many good employees will leave.

Often companies only share the good and think that keeping poor business results from employees will spare them the fear that their jobs may be in jeopardy. Reality is that the opposite is true. Not knowing what’s going on leads to rumor mongering and stress. Access to trading and business information should be available to all employees to foster buy-in through inclusivity.

Why it works:

Knowing what’s happening often brings out the best in people. Staff who are privy to the good and the bad feel that they’re part of the organization. Therefore, they’ll celebrate the victories and step-up when headwinds blow.

9. Improving job security

Although we’re dealing with a far more transient workforce today and people are no longer scared to leave their job or change careers, job security still matters.

Employees want to know that they have control over their job and income. The thought that anyone can be unemployed overnight is always a scary because people have financial commitments.

Employment contracts are essential in best HR practices. Whether it’s a temporary or permanent role, employees must know what their terms of employment are and how much they’ll earn. Keep HR policies tightly aligned to business strategy and trading conditions and set realistic payroll budgets to ensure that you don’t have to make retrenchments.

Why it works:

Offering job security is as much about business ethics as it is about business practices. If your employer brand has a reputation of retrenchments and staff dismissals, it won’t take long before people start resigning and candidates turn you down.

10. Focus on compliance

Lack of compliance to local, national, and international labor legislation will blow any of your favorite HR practices out of the water. No company can plead ignorance of the law, so make sure that you have a labor law expert onboard, either as an employee or as a service provider.

Run all your HR policies, procedures and contracts by them for approval before you implement anything. Also, ensure that management and staff are kept up to date with their rights and legal parameters.

Why it works:

Non-compliance affects transparency, job security, and your brand reputation, not to mention your cash flow when you’re facing hefty fines.

Additional reading: Check out our article on the importance of cybersecurity on HR teams

Bottom line

The recruitment landscape has kept pace with evolving technology and recruitment practices, and HR practitioners must be aware of the ongoing change.

Best Human Resources practices must be revisited regularly and updated to keep pace with changes and current trends.

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