HR manages quite a lot of tasks, from running payroll and managing employee benefits to hiring and disciplining employees. If you’re a newly-promoted HR manager, you might feel out of your depths with the complexity of managing a whole team of HR professionals, especially if this is your first time in a management role.
But managing an HR team doesn’t have to be a perilous trial. Instead, by following these five curated tips, you can set up processes to manage your HR team efficiently and effectively in the long term, supporting those who support your company to success.
Set Team Goals
If your HR team is newly formed, your employees might feel overwhelmed and directionless, unsure of what they should be doing and stressed by the prospect of all the tasks to do up ahead.
There’s no need to cause a panic and let everyone run around like headless chickens. Instead, the first thing you should do as an HR manager is to set and prioritize actionable goals for your team, giving them guidance and a sense of direction for their efforts. With each goal, you should also set a key performance indicator to track your progress, as well as a deadline for when your team should complete it by.
These goals should be based off of your company’s larger strategic directives. Here are some examples of HR goals you could set, as well as their ties to larger company goals.
- Recruit and hire 10 new employees this quarter (company is growing)
- Negotiating non-monetary compensation packages at the next performance review cycle (company is trying to cut costs)
- Implementing mental health and enrichment programs before the peak season (company is trying to reduce turnover)
Match Tasks to Competence
Once you have your overarching goals set up, next is to divide those goals into actionable steps, and delegating those tasks to your team members. To ensure your goals are met accurately and on time, it’s best to get a good sense of what each of your employees are capable of, and assigning tasks to the person best equipped to handle them.
Of course, this requires you, as the manager, to have a good sense of each team member’s competencies and capabilities. As you first set up your team, hold one-on-one sessions with each member to discuss their hard and soft skills and get a good sense of their personalities. Then, you’ll be able to accurately assess whether a person is suited for a particular task or not.
For example, say that you need someone in your team to run payroll ASAP. A quick assessment of your team’s capabilities would tell you that two people have experience with using payroll software. However, a more in-depth personality assessment would also tell you that one person performs poorly under pressure. Knowing that, you would choose the other person who has the experience and level-headedness needed to complete this task accurately and on time.
Lost on how to break down company goals or complete HR tasks? Lucky for you, there are plenty of online resources that provide guides on how to manage HR to give you a good sense of how to get your team up and running.
Provide Learning and Development
According to LinkedIn, nine out of ten employees say it’s important for managers to inspire learning and experimentation. They also report that employees who feel their skills aren’t being put to good use are 10 times more likely to look for a new job.
In other words, to improve engagement and retention in your HR team, it’s important for you as a manger to provide learning and development opportunities for your employees. This could take the form of seminars or lectures, a paid course, or simply allowing your employees to try new tasks every once in a while to diversify their skillsets. Not only will your employees be happier, the training will make them more effective workers, hitting two targets at once!
Monitor Workload and Stress Levels
So far, we’ve only been talking about how to get work done and plying on more things for your employees to do. But as a manager, it’s also your responsibility to watch out for your employees’ mental health and prevent burnout.
As we mentioned earlier, a good way to manage employee workload is to directly match their tasks to things they can complete. Learning and development sessions can also provide a good change of pace.
But beyond that, you should also be frequently checking in with your employees and having open conversations on whether their workload is too much, adjusting it as necessary. Rather than micromanaging your employees, give them space and an open channel of communication to tell you if they need help. The company won’t collapse without one employee, so let them take breaks and vacations as needed to refresh their minds before diving back into the fray.
Track and Review Performance
Finally, as your HR team gets off the ground and starts falling into work rhythms, it’s important for managers to frequently track and review performance and give feedback to grow your employees’ capabilities in the long term.
Some performance aspects you should track for each employee include absence rates, overtime expenses, productivity output, and work quality. If you can, clip samples of an employee’s work every once in a while to gain a holistic view of their performance over time.
As a manager, you have the option of either giving feedback as soon as a task is completed, or gathering your information and comments to deliver all at once during a performance review every few months. In any case, with performance reviews, you can provide actionable tips on where employees can improve and encourage them to grow even further.
Being a manager can be difficult, and managing an HR team provides its own host of unique challenges. But by matching tasks to competence, providing learning and development, monitoring workload and stress, and tracking and reviewing performance, you can take your first few steps to setting up your HR team for long-term growth and success.