Want to make a difference? Identify HR gaps and help resolve them

Endeavour to create a workplace where staff relate well with one another.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

I work for a small but growing company, with about 60 employees. We have been in operation for seven years, but I have been here for five as administration coordinator. My supervisor encouraged me to take an interest in HR, I started helping out and eventually went back to school for certification. I still have some months to go to complete. I was elated to be appointed to lead the department, and would like some tips on what to pay attention to. I want to make a difference.

Congratulations on a well-deserved promotion. It is always gratifying to have a manager who sees potential in their staff, and uses their covering as the mentor they are to connect others to roles aligned to their potential. That’s what great managers do, and in doing this, they motivate their teams to higher levels of engagement and commitment to their work. Whereas you may have been planning to obtain your certification and look for a job elsewhere, I note your enthusiasm as you look for ways to add value and make a difference.

The first place to start is to fully apply the knowledge you are learning and link this to HR gaps within your organisation. If I were in your place, I would be keen to ensure that the company has updated policies that guide key processes. For over seven years, your company has been operating, and as you say, has been growing, key drivers for growth include staff engagement and commitment to their work. Identify all process that empower or limit your staff and have them reviewed. Think back and evaluate your own engagement drivers as an employee, identify what worked well, and what you dreaded. Where possible, enlist the help of your colleagues to gather useful feedback that will create a suitable workplace for all. I note you say ‘you started helping out’, and imagine as you did this and reflected on what you are learning in your course, there must be a few things you would have done differently. Start with these, and improve as you tap on feedback from your colleagues.

Network with other HR professionals and look for ideas to make your organisation adaptive to changes that suit different demographics at work. You have not shared your company’s nature of business, but there are common themes that inform best practice, such as ensuring; i) that you have fair practices that eliminate subjectivity and negativity, ii) that all employers are clear on their performance objectives and expected outcomes, iii) you have mechanisms of receiving and giving timely feedback, iv) that you have a code of conduct that guides staff on what is expected of them, and consequences for non-compliance, v)that conflicts and grievances are resolved in a timely manner. Endeavour to create a workplace where staff relate well with one another. Just like in your promotion, help employees identify their career paths and how to equip themselves to be ready when suitable opportunities arise. One other key factor that creates a great workplace culture is having a common understanding of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. I am sure your staff would be willing co-create these with you, for maximum ownership.

MillennialHR [email protected]