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HR Best Practises as the good times return

Feb 12, 2014
According to Red Recruit, one of the UK’s leading recruitment companies for the removals market, 2013 saw a surge in recruitment as businesses invested to meet both their current and future requirements. But during the difficult times, companies’ efforts to make ends meet might have created HR problems that need attention if good morale is to be maintained.

Paul Sims, an HR professional for Red Recruit, said that during the downturn, cut backs seen in the industry, had badly affected staff morale and were not good for attracting new talent.  He said HR practitioners will have been involved in processes to cut back costs by exercising restructuring and redundancy programs. They will have looked at natural wastage and recruitment freezes.  They will also have seen the workforce having to manage sometimes unhealthy workloads, knowing that, if they didn’t achieve the tasks given they could be next!

“This can generate more grievances and work-related stress,” said Paul.   “It’s often described as the ‘Survivor Syndrome’: those surviving redundancy or restructuring phases feel they have no choice but to carry on regardless. Paperwork piles get taller and it appears as though, there is no escape! They are just surviving!”

Good HR practise by professionals recognises the need for work balance. Work loading or balancing recognises how some in the team can be overwhelmed with work and processes, whilst others maybe underused. “People who are underused can easily become bored through repetitive, uninteresting work and the feeling that they can do little to make a difference.  Anyone can be affected, management or operations, and boredom is often the reason people leave a company. As HR professionals we have a personal responsibility to make sure that processes and policies recognise that people need process stimulation, input and work balance.”

The UK, for example, has a long-hours culture compared with the rest of the EU. This means that work loading can appear to be all right when clearly it isn’t since prolonging the day seldom improved productivity. European Law also recognises this, which is why we have the Working Time Directive.

“HR professionals may need to explain work balance to managers and Red Recruit provides training to help them,” said Paul. “When analysing a process and assigning timescales to them we can see how much time is wasted through non value-added processes. These are things that rob us and the business of time and that benefit no one, but, our competitors. Recruitment aims to attract the best candidates, employ the right person first time, enable rapid on-boarding and use people’s talents to grow the business. Waste is generated by not employing the right person first time, by not attracting the right applicants, by not using the talent for what they were employed to do.”

To break this down further when arranging candidates for selection, time spent on reviewing CV’s creates waste. It is known that through the recruitment process CV’s of applicants are given between 10-30 seconds of skim-reading and most are judged on font style, use of bold type and formatting, rather than content. This not only wastes the employer’s time, it does not give candidates a fair chance of presenting their credentials.

The source of this waste may in part be due to what talent was attracted and by what means. HR professionals would benefit from analysing their procedures with the aim of reducing waste and improving the quality of applicants. Red Recruit offers training to help managers attract the right applicants and achieve the right work balance.

Paul Sims continued, “Where time constraints affect a process and encourage short-cutting, quality is always the first area to suffer. By analysing the recruitment process we understand the issues of waste and how it affects other areas of the business. With longer working days, lack of investment in resources for HR and no analysis of work balance, business finds itself managing the same cycle of recruiting, training, overloading and re-recruiting. It’s time for business managers and owners to take stock of these issues if they are to compete on the world scene and for HR professionals to support that need for change.”

Photo:  Paul Sims

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