It makes good business sense to keep up with the latest trends and best practices, especially when it comes to people management. The workforce is constantly changing. So, it’s up to management and HR to keep re-examining practices and looking for ways to improve and adapt.
Here are some of our HR best practices for 2022 to help you achieve this.
1. Provide continuous feedback
The annual performance review is the absolute minimum that should be available. Just as you are when it comes to your business, your employees are looking for ways they can improve on a regular basis. They shouldn’t have to wait for the end of the year to receive feedback. Instead, frequent reviews and informal feedback about performance should be given. This helps your staff to improve themselves and also to feel valued as they receive positive feedback for their hard work.
Feedback is a tricky topic and some managers find this very difficult for good reason. Getting employees to improve is not a new topic. Harvard Business Review's The Feedback Fallacy addresses some of the difficult issues that arise when attempting to provide genuinely useful feedback to employees. At Bridgewater, a hedge fund founded by no nonsense speaker Ray Dalio, feedback is brutal and candid. Many employees cannot fit the culture and attrition is high. Yet the people who are left help build a strong and distinctive culture in the company.
As in many things in life, feedback can be a double edged sword. There are many errors made when giving feedback. Whether it is a 360-degree feedback or one to one appraisals, you might be think along the lines of the 'theory of learning'. HBR's Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goddall suggest that the idea is something like this: if you're in sales, how can you possibly close deals if you don't learn the competency of mirroring and mathcing prospects? If you're a teacher, how can you improve if you don't learn and practice the steps in the latest team-teaching or flipped classroom format? The idea is that you can't - and that's why you need to give feedback to your employees to develop the skills they're missing.
Some of the ideas in this section come from HBR's Delivering Effective Feedback Ebook, doesn't come cheap in hardcover but the ideas are nicely packaged and we have a copy in print in the office library in ShiftAI
2. Reward your employees
Another great way to encourage your team to perform better is through rewards and incentives. Performance-based bonuses are a big incentive for your employees to up their motivation, and it can even introduce some friendly competition into the workplace. Rewards don’t have to only be monetary. You could reward an employee with extra holiday time or a personal gift. You can also reward the whole team by throwing an office event or arranging an outing at the end of a successful project.
3. Support career development
Your employees want to feel like they’re going somewhere in their career. If you and your company are the ones getting them there, then this will boost job satisfaction levels and employees’ loyalty to you as an employer. By investing in training your employees and giving them opportunities to gain new experiences, you’re demonstrating that you’re investing in their future.
Career development can be both personal skills development or knowledge from reading and training sessions. For example, if your organisation has a lot of knowledge, arrange a Lunch 'N Learn session once a week. At Genentech, the Early Stage strategy teams are responsible for evaluating billions of dollars of drug investments does this frequently to share knowledge among the groups of ultra smart and well educated employees.
Create an office library, where you keep important books for the employees to refer to and borrow when needed. At elite strategy consultancies, for example at Mckinsey & Company, which is famous for sending its consultants to top business schools such as Harvard Business School, books on GMAT Prep are available in the office, as are books on structured thinking and communication, such as the Pyramid Principle by Babara Minto.
Finally, it is important for you as an employer to recognise that employees will not be around forever. There is a correct time period for your business and for your employee to share the journey. Employees want to leave in better shape than when they arrived, and your company should be better off for the contribution they made.
4. Open door policy
Your employees should feel comfortable in the workplace. This means having someone to talk to whenever they’re facing an issue. This might be someone other than their manager, an HR rep, or a mentor assigned to an employee. When the communication channels are open and uninhibited your employees can air their issues appropriately whenever they need.
5. Rid your workplace of discriminatory language
Topics such as equality and diversity are so important in today’s workplace. All employees should feel as if they have equal opportunities and that they are safe to be themselves in the workplace. Make sure you have policies in place regarding equality and discrimination, and that your employees are aware of these.
Often employees that are impacted by viewpoints of others will not speak up and defend themselves nor will they communicate the extent to which they are offended. The best policy is to keep the workplace neutral even if your workforce is full of loud mouthed expletive using ex-military personnel. In reality, good military leaders tend to be the best people around in adapting for the environment in which they find themselves in and are able to emphatically sense the appropriate behaviour to adopt and lead others. See Ben Horowitz' book, Hard things about Hard things, where he addresses the issue of work place profanities.
6. Flexible working
Another factor that’s increasing in importance for today’s workforce is flexible working.
So go ahead, give some of the best practices a go and let us know how they work out for you!