John Allen on HR goals

John Allen, President & COO, G&A Partners

Any time is a good time to practice smart, strategic human resources habits. Below is a list of five things your company’s HR department should be doing or resolve to do better. There is no better time to start than right now.
Align HR with your company’s business strategy.
HR is responsible for acquiring and optimizing one of your company’s most vital assets — its employees — so shouldn’t the group understand and be aligned with the organization’s business goals and objectives? Include your HR department in your strategic planning process so it can proactively recruit for a growing business unit or redeploy the right talent to a new venture. If your HR organization isn’t capable of thinking or acting strategically, think about how the department may need to change to better serve the company.
Develop a sustainable process for evaluating and rewarding performance.
If aligning HR to the organization’s goals and objectives seems difficult at times, try to align individual employees to move the company in the direction management wants to take it. One way to ensure employees are working toward a common goal is to establish a performance evaluation process that measures performance based on a set of criteria tied to that goal. A consistent and objective evaluation process can also help to ensure that your organization is rewarding employees based on merit rather than favoritism.
Employ technology to track productivity and minimize costs.
Web-based time and labor management technology is making time cards and manual time entry systems obsolete. Advance time and labor systems provide business owners and managers practical tools to plan, direct and oversee their staffs. Imagine being able to tap into real-time labor data online anytime or anywhere to assess current staff coverage, identify immediate staffing needs and make changes accordingly. Even details such as potential cost overruns caused by excessive overtime can be red-flagged and calculated so managers can make quick, cost-saving decisions.
Alleviate common risk factors associated with the HR function.
People aren’t perfect, so it is critical that HR maintains practices to mitigate the risks associated with human imperfection. During the hiring process, faithfully conduct background checks and drug testing. Insist on professional references, not merely family or friends. To prevent litigation, conduct annual diversity training, harassment training and salary surveys, and ensure that policies and standards are applied equally to all employees. To protect employees’ safety, implement a workplace security policy with photo ID cards, a receptionist and a visitor sign-in sheet and always remember to lock up sensitive personnel information.
Create an employment brand that attracts exceptional talent and enhances employee engagement.
“Basic Branding 101” teaches that a strong brand helps attract buyers and build consumer loyalty. The same is true of a company’s “employment brand.” Human resources plays a pivotal role in helping a company establish a first-class employment brand. By promoting an attractive corporate culture and offering competitive compensation and flexible benefits, HR can help ensure that your company is perceived as an employer of choice in the markets where you operate.
These five goals won’t transform your company, but just one can begin to change how your HR department functions, and since HR touches every single employee in your organization, there is no better time or place to start.
John Allen is president and COO of G&A Partners, a Texas-based HR and administrative services company that manages human resources, benefits, payroll, accounting and risk management for growing businesses. For more information about the company, visit