With the many changes over the past two years, you may want to consider refreshing your HR practices.
Given the changes over the last two years, spring cleaning should apply not only to your windows and closets but to your HR practices as well.
Here are four HR areas to consider refreshing:
1) Clean up your compliance. Laws, best practices and companies change from year to year. Take this time to make sure you are current and compliant by making the following updates:
Employee census. Conduct a review of your current employees, noting any changes in number or demographics that may impact other HR policies or benefits and be aware of any regulations you no longer meet.
Handbooks and policies. Have your handbook and employment policies reviewed and updated every one or two years. Changes in federal, state or local employment law or the number of your employees to employ may require policy revisions. You may also wish to address your current workplace, such as modernizing your dress code, adding work-from-home requirements, or implementing a social media policy. However, make sure any new policies comply with recent legal decisions and guidance from government agencies such as the Department of Labor and National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
Posters and notices. Make sure your federal, state and, in some cases, local posters and notices are up-to-date and posted in common areas where employees have easy access.
Personnel files. Review all personnel files, ensuring current employee files are complete and pulling those for terminated employees. Purge records and forms that you are no longer obligated to retain.
Training. Ensure employees understand current job requirements, product specifications and company expectations. Include training on non-harassment, non-sexual harassment and non-retaliation—required in several states—to provide an affirmative defense if needed in the future.
COVID-19. Update your COVID-19 procedures to reflect the latest guidance.
2) Introduce new initiatives. Workplaces, society and business priorities are different now than they were two or three years ago. Companies looking to retain their best employees may need to implement cultural changes which support employee concerns.
However, issuing a new initiative without follow-up and management buy in can do more harm. Be prepared to commit to:
Work-from-home arrangements. The labor market is very tight. COVID-19 has shifted the priorities of some employees and limited the options of others. We all know that there are jobs that must be done in person. But, for the others, try to find a way to accommodate some flexibility into the full-time in-person option. Offering a hybrid option, even if only one or two days a week, can give employees the flexibility they need to balance their personal lives while staying engaged in their jobs.
Diversity, inclusion & equity (DE&I). Develop and implement a program to address disparity within the workforce and to empower minority employees. This can include policies and training, as well as creating affinity groups to creatively address issues and ensure everyone is valued and their opinions are heard.
Employee contributions. Employees often have ideas on how to improve work methods, update the company culture or incorporate the latest technologies. Allowing employees to present their suggestions and working with them to determine the validity of implementing them can lead to greater employee commitment to the company while giving you a new source of outside-the-box thinking.
3) Refresh your recruiting. As we head into the middle of 2022, the tight labor market from 2021 is not easing up. Applicants have more job choices and are holding firm to their “must-have" list. Companies looking for new employees should update their processes and expand their search to find the right fit. Areas to refresh include:
Branding. Companies often think to advertise to potential customers, but you should also market to potential employees. Update your website, create a video about the company and use social media to publicize your company and message.
Streamlined hiring process. Most applicants have several job offers to choose from, so simplify your process to screen applicants more efficiently, make good decisions quicker, and offer employment sooner. Consider including some pre-screening questions with the application or doing group interviews so more people can talk with the candidate without requiring multiple visits.
Conditional offers. Making an offer quicker should not mean skipping background checks, reference checks and drug testing. By making an offer conditional upon passing these requirements, you can get an offer to the candidate quicker while still being compliant.
Compliant hiring. Update your application to comply with legal changes such as Ban the Box, which means an applicant may not be excluded from an initial interview solely because of a past criminal conviction. Review your interview questions to make sure they are legal and effective. Train your hiring team so they know what to do and what not to do to legally find the right fit. Update your offer letter to provide important information such as employment-at-will and benefits.
Job sources. Since applicants may be hard to find using old methods, consider trying new ways to reach your next hire. Create an employee referral program. Post ads on specialized sites, such as those targeting veterans, disabled or unemployed job seekers. For new management or hard-to-place positions, hire a recruiter who knows the job market and your industry and can actively source your job while you focus on other things.
4) Scrub your salary structure. The rising cost of living means employees need to be paid more. Further, the tight labor market means companies must pay the market rate or more to attract and retain the best employees. Additionally, increased new hire salaries and increasing minimum wage rates further compress a company's salary structure.
Review the wage and benefit package you offer employees to see if it is current and meets their needs. If not, consider developing creative ways to reward employees for joining and staying with the company. Hire a compensation expert to provide an accurate market analysis for key positions then decide how you want to compete with the market.
Paige McAllister is vice president, HR compliance, Affinity HR Group, Inc. Affinity HR is the endorsed HR partner of Big “I" Hires, the Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, Big I New York, and Big I New Jersey.
Reach out to Affinity HR Group via email or 877-660-6400 with your compensation questions or other HR needs.