HR Insights 3 min

High-Impact HR: It’s In the Little Things

March 17, 2015

Sometimes we get so busy doing the necessary things, we forget about the little things that can make a huge difference. We do it in life. It’s called forgetting to stop and smell the roses. We do it at work too. Especially in HR. But there isn’t really an common statement to describe it. How about: Getting so tangled up in paperwork that we forget to stop and manage culture. Not really as eloquent, but you get what I mean. You need to be focusing on high-impact HR even if you don’t ever seem to have the time. So what are those little things?

1. Culture: 84 percent of people believe that culture is critical to business success—and 60 percent think it’s even more critical than strategy or an operating model. You already know culture is important, but you probably push it off as something you’ll do later. It’s like continuing to drive even though your meter says “empty” because you don’t have time to stop for gas.

Start paying attention to culture today. If you’re a startup, right now is critical. You may think you’ll be able to scale all the things you love about your company without a plan, but you won’t. You could run into some big problems. If you’re growing and starting to notice you’re losing the stuff you loved about being small, it’s time for an overhaul. You have to bring back your culture in a big way.

2. Training and Development: Your employees want this more than anything else. When they start with your company, they need training. And if you don’t develop your current employees and give them a chance to advance, it’s the main reason they may want to leave. So, pay attention to where your employees want and need to be developed.

Take some time to develop yourself too. In HR, we are a little self-sacrificing. We sacrifice our time (often beyond required hours). We sacrifice the things we want in order to give to other departments. We’ve got to remember that when we do good things for ourselves, we’re doing good things for our employees. The entire company benefits from a highly trained and developed HR department. So watch a few webinars. Attend some training conferences. Don’t neglect your own training and development.

3. Engagement: Most employees leave because they become disengaged. Here’s another common saying for you: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Prevent turnover by making sure your employees are engaged. Make sure you know when your employees are in the “wrong seat of the bus” and adjust when you can.

Key to engaging your employees is giving them a driving force for their work. This is your company’s “why,” and it matters a whole lot. If the end goal is larger than the task and you connect with the reason behind that end goal, you’re going to work so much harder. Your employees need to understand that each line of code, every sale, each new hire isn’t an end in itself. It’s all leading up to the realizing the company’s mission. Help employees understand how vital each contribution is. You’ll have more engaged employees when they feel like what they do is meaningful.

4. Efficiency: Like I said, you have so much to do. And that’s why these little things get pushed to the side for a later date. But efficiency is so vital. You tell yourself that you will make x,y,z processes more efficient when you get more time. Well, the time is now. Stop working so hard and work smart. Find better processes. Automate the things you don’t really need to do manually (I’m talking about PTO, employee information, training and benefits). Efficiency will give you the ability to focus on all the other little things—which are actually big, strategic things.

HR’s job is so vital to company success. And if we are willing to find ways to get to these so-called little things, our impact can be so much greater. Make some time to focus on strategic initiatives that will help your company invest in and maintain its most important asset: your people. It’s those little things that really count.

Kelsie Davis

Kelsie Davis is a copywriter for BambooHR. Her mission is to help HR create more strategic and impactful initiatives by researching, analyzing, and writing about all things HR—particularly topics helping HR professionals engage, attract, and retain employees.