4 ways to increase HR's impact in your organisation

“This is HR’s job” - how many HR professionals have heard this refrain?

From being given the job of office maintenance, talent retention, to sometimes even managing seasonal parking quotas - the HR department seems to be a convenient catch-all for many workplace processes. A recent survey showed that 92% of HR leaders believe that the amount of work they have to undertake, along with limited budgets and a lack of resources will be key obstacles to their success in 2024.

Despite their wide scope of work, only 29% of HR professionals feel that their work is valued in their organisation. To solve this, most HR leaders and C-suite executives agree that HR needs to take on more of a strategic and a greater consultant role, but 73% of HR leaders said the balance of HR work is often still more administrative and process-focused.

So what can HR professionals today do to drive positive change in their organisations and make a real impact?

We asked the former HE director at the BBC, and the CEO of Disruptive HR, Lucy Adams what her thoughts were.

1) Consider revamping your performance reviews.

A company-wide traditional annual/quarterly performance review is costly and takes a huge amount of HR time to administer.

It is reported to cost a business as much as $2.4 to $35 million a year in lost working hours for an organization of 10,000 employees to take part in annual performance evaluations - with few returns to show for it.

Concerningly, Gallup reported that traditional performance reviews even worsen performance about one-third of the time. Furthermore, over 80% of employees don’t find it motivating. In fact, for many businesses, the idea that a target set in January will be still relevant by December in a fast-changing context is risky at best.

That’s why, rather than setting annual objectives and giving feedback to employees in a huge lump sum once a year, progressive HR teams are moving to more ‘light touch’ principles – this means training and then trusting managers to manage employees by having more frequent check-ins and employee-owned discussions.

Research shows that when managers provide weekly, compared to annual, feedback, team members are: 3.2x more likely to be motivated and 2.7x more likely to be engaged at work.


2) Create conditions that enable people to perform at their best.

People are easily the most unpredictable area of any organisation. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach to HR isn’t going to be effective.

So, how can HR teams equip themselves for that?

First up, you have to ask yourself: what is HR’s role? Is it about aligning with leadership and the strategic business goals? Or is it about delivering an employee experience that your people actually want?

Once you start to take the view that your purpose is to enable people to do their best work, rather than endless process implementation or tick-box initiatives – then you can begin to create a workplace environment where your employees can thrive.

That might mean spending less time on transactional stuff like employee engagement surveys and performance reviews and instead investing more energy into understanding employees, showing appreciation, asking what works for them and providing growth opportunities.

3) Take notes from marketing.

To that end, to truly understand your employees, start taking inspiration from colleagues in marketing – borrowing their techniques on how they understand the goals and feelings of their target audience and understand consumer sentiment.

Your employees are your target audience. By adapting these marketing research techniques to better understand your employees, you will discover the most strategic priorities and help you cut processes that are inefficient or ineffective.

4) Make hybrid working work for everyone.

A staggering 98% of workers expressed the desire to work remotely, at least part of the time.

However, since the “Great Return” to offices after the pandemic, many business leaders have expressed concerns that a remote environment might be detrimental to innovation and culture.

This has resulted in HR teams having to manage as their companies revert to full-time office policies or hybrid policies, along with needing to deal with the brunt of the management and administrative challenges that have come along with this shift.

According to Lucy Adams, rather than imposing restrictive policies across the whole business – it’s better to allow flexibility and empower managers and teams to determine what's best for them.

When HR leaves it up to individual teams to identify the moments that matter when it comes to face-to-face interactions and to decide when being together in person adds value, this saves them the enforcement burden of trying to control or “police” set office days.

YuLife Presents is YuLife’s event series for the HR community. We bring together leading experts on today’s most important topics to provide our community with practical advice, and inspiration for their own workplaces.

To watch Lucy Adam’s full YuLife webinar, click here. And if you want to be the first to find out about our next event, sign-up to our YuLife Presents mailing list today!