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Why Wait? How to Make Incremental Changes to Your HR Processes NOW

We’ve all heard a million times that HR is taking on a more strategic role. But what does that mean for your HR practice? Have you stepped into HR’s strategic power at your organization or are you stuck in the transactional world?

Change isn’t just lurking on the horizon anymore. It’s here, whether we’re ready for it or not. This means changes are going to be occurring across your organization, but there’s some good news: You don’t have to wait for sweeping changes to rattle the C-suite before you improve processes and efficiency in your HR practice. In fact, the longer you wait to isolate pain points and make improvements, the more difficult large-scale change is going to be down the road. It’s time for HR to step up and own it.

I’m here to tell you not to be afraid to make your voices heard. Only actual HR practitioners at your organization understand the nitty-gritty of your HR practice, so your voice should be instrumental in making changes. For too long HR teams have simply executed on the objectives of the C-suite or other departments without providing their guidance. Now it’s time to assess how HR can provide your organization with efficiency and innovation to operate smoothly. HR deserves to be heard.

Here are some of the ways you can step into your strategic role and make changes in your HR practices today.

Audit Your Processes

HR should not wait for change to be triggered from the top, when budgets are tight or costs are getting out of control. It doesn’t have to be like this.

How often do you step back and ask yourself why? Why do we do these transactions, why are we running these reports, why is it that the C-Suite doesn’t understand that some of their decisions have terrible process consequences?

Often it is because HR has just replicated the processes that have been handed down to them for decades, without giving much consideration as to why. A closer, more frequent look will show that many of these processes are inefficient and unnecessary. This can really bog down HR, which has a ripple effect across the organization.

It’s critical to take a step back periodically (at least every six months) to map out your processes and evaluate their efficiency — or lack thereof. Identifying pain points, handoffs, manual steps, etc. and prioritizing the most important actions that can help you work towards your efficiency goals. HR processes shouldn’t just be more of the same. Change is here, and it’s time for HR to step up.

Raise Your Voice

Don’t allow yourself to become disenfranchised. Raise your voice and fight for what’s best for your team and the people you serve. Making incremental changes or working within your existing system can lead to better, more efficient processes. This can improve the employee experience organization-wide, and save employees time and money.

Change doesn’t have to be monumental. In fact, practicing incremental changes drives a culture of innovation and efficiency. It helps you to work with what you have, and determine where larger changes need to occur. But it’s up to you to voice the need for change.

I’ll pull an example from my personal archives. When I worked in payroll at a previous organization, we ran would run “audits” with every payroll cycle on every employee (50,000!). The quotes around audit are because we would dump the payroll data out of the system, run VLOOKUP’s using our audit tolerances to find the employees with issues. This would take us more hours then we had to get through the process. So I finally asked myself why? After the first payroll, we reviewed the process, wrote the audit reports based on the tolerances and implemented them in the system for the next payroll cycle. This simple modification significantly improved our processes, decreased the time and resources we spent on auditing, and increased our payroll accuracy.

It’s just a matter of making yourself heard. You have the evidence of bad processes in hand. Demonstrate to the C-suite how your improvements will make a difference. Spur a culture of change. Raise your voice.

Let the Momentum Carry You

Take a stance and never stop asking yourself or your teams how to increase efficiency. Once you master a few incremental changes, it’ll become second nature for you. This mindset lends itself to a culture of improvement. This cultural shift can become contagious — you and other teams will start to notice other places where improvements can be made in the organization. Cultivating this mindset and lending your expertise in the C-suite will truly bring HR into that strategic role.

Your little wins set the tone for your tenure at the company, and give you the momentum to carry you forward. Don’t let change roll past you. Make your argument, and make sure the C-suite listens.

Let’s talk about how your organization is planning for change. Send me an email to connect.

Kimberly Carroll loves change and helping others through her role at IA. Kimberly’s clients look to her as a sounding board, therapist and mentor. She is passionate about change and using her background to influence HR leaders to truly transform their organizations.

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