As the job market continues to change and become more competitive, no company is too small to consider the importance of having a focus on Human Resources. The relationship between the agency team and the HR "department" can take many forms depending on what your agency is looking to achieve, and what it needs to function best.
Over the last decade or so HR has evolved from an administrative function to a more strategic business component in today’s ever-changing world. HR is no longer the company agent that ensures that proper new hire documents are completed or that the company picnic goes off without a hitch. HR has become a strategic partner in determining best practices, planning for growth, career development, compensation trends, and employee relations. An HR team can help an agency achieve their strategic goals through three key areas: Mission, Process and Metrics.
“HR has become a strategic partner in determining best practices, planning for growth, career development, compensation trends, and employee relations.”
Mission Statements: Does your company have a written and published Mission Statement? If not, sitting down and determining the mission and vision of your company is important and should be your first step in creating a lasting employee brand. How you want to present yourself to clients, prospective employees and current employees now is just as important as how that mission and vision may evolve with your growth and its sustainability with the company's long term goals. Remember a mission statement can always be changed, but should be written with the long term objectives and endurance to promote the company beyond its current state. It should also be published and part of continued discussion within the company’s four walls.
“...a mission statement can always be changed, but should be written with the long term objectives and endurance to promote the company beyond its current state.”
Once you have a Mission Statement in place you can begin building off of it with Processes. Processes can be minimal or numerous, however I would advise that an agency of 10 employees need not create a 50 page handbook or binders upon binders of standard operating procedures (SOPs). Keep in mind it is important for all organizations no matter their size to have standards and expectations of how work will be accomplished and how the overall business should run to achieve its mission, but should not be bogged down by the creation, implementation and maintenance of their SOP’s. Ask yourself; What are the goals you wish to achieve for your customers? What are acceptable standards? Are there best practices that can be brought in that can speed up or stream line an old process?
As you are asking yourself these questions, begin to look at it from the HR perspective. Are the SOP’s achievable? How will you manage and address employee performance based on these SOP’s? Do any of these processes create any risks for the company, employee or client? Remember you can create as many processes as you feel necessary, but the more complicated it is to create and organize the harder it will be to manage and measure success.
So how do we determine success? As an HR professional, I never expected to be utilizing Excel as much as I do. As more and more data emerges and more and more evaluations are taking place, the more measurable metrics matter. You’re probably wondering why HR would be worried about metrics... Metrics are a key way a business can determine their ROI not only on client work, product, and machinery, but also on their employees. As HR has changed, so has the way we look at and evaluate our employees. We no longer just look at an employee's attitude or willingness to complete projects, but in how successful, timely and within scope of budget they are. Metrics have then become a valuable tool for setting employee goals, evaluating employee performance and determining where additional training needs or bottlenecks may occur within the agency. Do not think because you are not a Fortune 500 company that this isn’t important for business or employee success. Being able to measure, evaluate and review metrics on company, employee and client success and failures are becoming a more a more valuable tool in an ever changing agency environment.
“...agencies must begin to look at creating mission statements, processes and metrics that not only evaluate the success of the company but also help employees achieve their own professional goals. “
As the work environment changes and continues to become more competitive, not only on the client side but also on recruiting and retaining top talent, agencies must begin to look at creating mission statements, processes and metrics that not only evaluate the success of the company but also help employees achieve their own professional goals. Utilizing HR to its full potential to create a successful strategy can ensure long term growth and success in small and large agencies alike.
Jessica Mohler is an HR Professional with a diverse background including employee relations, labor relations, compensation, mergers & acquisitions.
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