Lucy Adams
August 31, 2020
Reading time: 10 minutes
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Here’s some HR stuff that you can stop doing that will save you time and money – and create a better people experience.

  1. Look at your current Handbook – is it full of unnecessary policies, negative language, and rules? This traditional approach is eating away at our people’s (and our leaders) ability to use their judgement – and it puts us in the role of HR compliance. Instead, go with a light touch Culture Handbook and replace as many policies as you can with principles that focus on people applying judgement and not designed around a rogue minority. A great example is Hubspot who use just three words to cover their policy on social media, travel, time off, expenses & remote working “Use good Judgement’.
  2. Ditch your probation period.  It’s not just a terrible word and gives the impression that we don’t trust our new people, but it’s taking up lots of our resources with review meetings, confirmation letters, chasing managers etc. Check on how many people don’t actually pass their probation? Bet it’s very few. Instead, encourage your managers to have more regular short check-ins with their new people to help them settle in.  
  3. Question whether you need to make that training mandatory. If you have to chase people to complete it, get some insight into why that is i.e. is it tedious, not adding value to their work etc. Challenge whether it should be mandatory and why you in HR are even owning it?
  4. Kill stupid rules. Ask your people to tell you the HR processes that get in the way of them doing a great job.  Guaranteed these rules will also be draining your HR time.
  5. If you haven’t already, stop doing annual appraisals. If you work out the hours spent preparing for appraisals, managing appraisals, chasing appraisals and doing appraisals, it’s quite a big hit to our HR budget and time.  We already know that it’s an outmoded way of managing performance. Move to frequent check-ins and ditch the paperwork. Check out our Leader Box to give simple tips and conversation starters to managers.
  6. If you are still planning to do an annual engagement survey, then maybe it’s time to question the value you have derived over the last few years? Apart from the Board feeling better because they’ve ticked the box called staff engagement, what has really changed? Instead, move to frequent, light touch pulse surveys. Create your own free survey (e.g. Typeform, Survey Monkey) and ask regular questions on themes e.g. “How could we make remote working better for you?” If you do have a bit of budget invest in one of the great feedback apps like OfficeVibe CultureAmpTINYpulse that focus on real-time feedback.
  7. No budget for building your employment brand?  Ask your people to write a review on Glassdoor about what they think about working for you?  Discuss the reviews at leadership meetings, so that you can celebrate what’s great and how you’re going to work on areas you need to improve.  
  8. Stop sending emails and and set up different employee groups (leaders, new starters etc.) on your current comms channel e.g. FB Workplace, MSTeams, Slack etc. A great way to start conversations and discussions.
  9. If your leadership training budget gets cut, preventing you from bringing in external trainers, well, that might not be a bad thing– after all, you know more about your leaders than anyone so why not do it yourself with all the time – set up informal clinics to provide coaching, set up a community to push useful external resources (try this one!) and send them a weekly whisper email like google with a suggestion of one new thing they can try out with their team.
  10. Stop sitting in on interviews.  Not only is it wasting valuable HR time but you’re making hiring managers more dependent on you and they’ll never develop their recruitment skills.  Run a workshop, share great resources, and then leave them to it.
  11. If you’re still using the 9 Box Grid, you’ll know how much time and effort it takes. Big cumbersome processes that take months to complete are increasingly discredited and being replaced by regular ‘Talking Talent’ conversations about talent movement and roles that need refreshing.  Check out our Box of Meetings which has a helpful template to help get those conversations going.
  12. Ditch the hi-po programme.  Expensive, elite and they don’t deliver value according to research by CEB (73% of high potential programmes show neither business outcomes nor return on investment). 
  13. Stop wasting hours of time creating HR reports with random stats and flawed people data. Instead, go to leaders with a more compelling narrative 1)Are we able to attract the talent we need? 2) Are we creating the conditions where our people can perform to the best of their ability?
  14. If your spending hours doing exit interviews please stop – we need to be talking to our people before they’re dissatisfied! Instead encourage managers to have stay conversations in their normal one-to-one check-ins asking questions like “What makes you stay here” and “What would make you want to leave?”
  15. If we want to role model efficiency in our business, we have to take a look at changes we can make to our own function without compromising on the value we can add.  Get your team together and share the problem.  Give them the safety of knowing that this doesn’t mean restructuring but instead, you want their ideas and suggestions about how they might adapt to focus on what’s important – ‘What processes, activities that are not adding value should we stop doing?’

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