What you should be asking yourself this month

The end of the year in HR, or in any department for that matter, creates a time for looking at the year’s accomplishments. We look at what we did well, what we could have done better, and begin to develop goals for the coming year.

Here are five questions HR leaders and staff members must ask themselves during this process:

1. Am I giving my company great ROI on HR activities and services? The days when HR was considered a “necessary evil” and tolerated with a grimace are long gone. Now, the discussion should center on HR ROI, getting it documented and in front of key executives, making sure they understand how HR is contributing to the bottom line. This is not a new idea by any means, but it’s easy to overlook in the daily crush of getting things done.

2. Am I implementing current technology tools to deliver services to employees? Do staff have the technology tools they need to do their jobs effectively? Are vendors providing the most current leading edge tools? If HR leaders cannot answer an honest “yes” to this question, they must do the necessary research and decide what to do to change the “no” and “maybe” answers to Yes!

3. Am I personally doing everything I can to run an industry leading HR division or department? Am I reading, studying and learning what I need to know? Am I constantly stretching myself? How can I become less complacent and more risk-taking? How can I become less task-oriented and more process oriented? No matter how successful we become, there is always more to do. Comfort is a dangerous thing!

4. Am I a manager the other managers in the company come to for help with their problems? Do they trust me enough to confide in me without fear of adverse action? Do they bring their issues to me before they become problems, or must I hear about them after the fact, when all I can do is perform a bailout? Do they trust me enough to listen to me when I suggest a solution, or do they only shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, let me think about it…” Am I mentoring my company’s leaders to help them grow, or merely telling them what they’re “required” to do?

5 As a company, are we doing everything we can to meet the needs of our employees? Are we working to meet the needs of older workers, and to prevent all forms of intolerance or discrimination in the workforce? Are we helping with work/life balance issues? Are we fostering company loyalty? Is there plenty of opportunity for employees to be challenged, and to grow within the company?

Once you’ve asked yourself these key questions and answered them honestly, then it’s time for you do develop your plans for the coming year. It comes down to this: until you fully understand where you are now and where you want to go, it’s a futile and waste of time to develop a plan.

You might as well skip the plan, because it won’t help you get to where you need to be.

About Pat Kelley, MS, SPHR

Pat Kelley, MS, SPHR, is the author of three non-fiction books, including the Second Edition of Hiring Right: A Business Blueprint for Lower Turnover and Higher Profits. She is a retired Human Resources Director with more than 40 years' experience. Certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources, she is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arkansas Society for Human Resource Management.
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