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5 Old School HR Methods That Still Hold Street Credibility

Tuesday July 5th, 2016

Estimated time to read: 3 minutes, 15 seconds

Human resource management (HRM) has changed a lot in recent years. Human resource (HR) departments used to be their own separate entities from the corporations in which they existed, often with completely different goals. With focus on employee experience and company vision, the function of many human resource departments is changing, and with all of this change, even though it is great change, you might wonder whether the previous methods served any purpose.

There are 5 methods or functions, if you will, that still hold street cred in a newer HR setting. When these 5 classic methods of HR usage are implemented well, they can still help companies remain innovative while providing stability in the workplace.

1. Acting as the Objective Third Party

Sometimes even the best of workplaces can have employees that don’t get along. Policies can be interpreted in many ways, and with all the new forms of communications being used today, there’s an even greater chance that information can be misinterpreted. That is where employers should continue to use their HR departments as tools to keep everyone on the same page when it comes to policies.

When work pressures mount and employees are tempted to take these stressors out on their co-workers, HR can help ease tensions by helping employees and supervisors talk things through. HR can be that listening ear by coming in and clarifying whatever information is being misunderstood. This is a great way to keep employees from feeling that resolving policy issues in a “he said, she said” argument, thus lowering tensions.

2. Record Keeping

When the term “HR” comes to mind, many people think of endless filing cabinets. While it is true that HR departments still keep records on leave that’s accrued or taken, benefits, weekly time on the job, and other important documents for each employee, they aren’t just another level of a bureaucracy. Human resources departments can be a centralized source for important information that can train and educate employees, communicating a centralized purpose.

HR departments are also able to “tell the story” of each employee in a company through their records and save other departments time and energy in trying to file too many copies of paperwork. They can also look at those records and see areas where employees have really engaged with the company’s mission over time. Records also help show which training programs are working effectively.

3. Policy Enforcement

This might tie into the concept of HR departments being an objective third party, but let’s explore this method of HR usage a little further. While many might have viewed an HR department as a sort of “policy police” within a given company, it is important to recognize that they can also prevent or lessen misunderstandings and conflicts in the workplace that may come from a vast number of company and government regulations.

One example of this is FMLA leave. While there is a required amount of time to be offered, which may vary based on the size of a company, there may be a difference in the time the company offers as opposed to what the government requires.

Employees must also be made aware of discrepancies. Since many supervisors have multiple job-related tasks to perform, as well as keeping track of employees, having records on those taking leave in an HR database gives them one less ball to juggle. This allows the employee and supervisor more freedom and less room for error in calculating leave times. Additionally, the process ensures fairness of enforcing policies across the board.

4. Recruiting

This is probably one of the methods of HR used that most people have encountered. Recruitment processes vary from company to company: some companies allow HR departments to handle the entire recruiting process, while others simply use them to filter resumes before sending candidates to managers and supervisors for interviews.

Recruiting processes handled by HR departments tend to be more focused, but simply using them as a first-step screening tool allows managers and supervisors to determine which candidates will actually adapt well to the job. While HR departments do a great job of handling resumes and initial meetings, allowing managers to meet their potential co-workers and then later discuss candidates with HR gives them a more in-depth evaluation.

5. Business Partnering

HR departments should also capture the vision of your company through business partnerships. HR professionals can evaluate whether the behaviors of employees are embodying your company’s vision and mission. Human resources team members can also identify problem behaviors before they become major issues for you and your company. Tracking employee success is another role of HR. After collecting this data HR can then help your company determine what strategies are working for your business and which are not.

HR has changed quite a bit in recent years, but there are several methods of using your HR department that still have “street cred” when it comes to developing your employees and your company’s vision. By acting as an objective third party, record keeping, policy enforcing, recruiting, and business partnering, HR departments can help you find ways to be innovative, yet provide stability in an ever-changing workplace.

While there are many great changes that are happening in HR departments everywhere, these “old school” methods of utilizing your HR department can help you clarify communication with your employees and save your managers and supervisors time and energy. Your employees and supervisors will thank you! Plus, your company will be unified in the understanding of your vision and mission.