HR Best Practices: What They Are and How You Can Implement Them

HR Best Practices What They Are and How You Can Implement Them Header69% of Millennials would rather make $50k a year at a job they love than $75k a year in a boring job.

On top of that, the cost to the US economy of a disengaged, dissatisfied employee can be up to $500 billion a year.

So how do you make sure that you provide a role that both addresses the needs of your employee and aligns with company goals?

The answer? Adopting these HR best practices.

At Process Street, we recognize the delicate balance between your business and your employees that’s maintained primarily by your HR department. The best practices in this post will ensure that balance stays in place.

You don’t have to take just our word for it, though. We’ll also look at how Adobe, Google, Accenture, and Salesforce implement them in their own companies.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

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The benefits of HR best practices

Anything worth doing comes with benefits. Otherwise, why do it?

Implementing new processes can be hard – especially if you’ve been doing something a particular way for a while. While the short-term may be frustrating and difficult, the long-term offers some pretty nice perks:

  1. A higher rate of employee productivity: Research has shown that employees can perform at a much higher rate of productivity when supervisors and managers pay more attention to them.
  2. Maintains organizational culture: The culture of your business impacts every person within your company. With a healthy company culture, you obtain employee retention, a good reputation, increased productivity and quality.
  3. Increases employee satisfaction: Effective HR management will support your employees, understand employee motivations, and ensure the best employee experience is being met.
  4. Training and development: Training needs of an employee are identified. Continual learning will mean that employees can keep their skills up to date and bring valuable and innovative ideas back to the company.

With the why taken care of, let’s talk a little about the how.

Implementing your HR best practices

The first part of this is pretty simple: You draw up a plan and you put it to action. Implementation, check. But your work isn’t done.

Now you have to focus on maintaining those practices, which can be a lot more complicated.

First, you need to have stakeholder buy-in. From the most junior employee to the CEO, everyone in the company needs to be fully on board with these new practices or it’s just not going to work.

Next, you need standardized and documented processes located in a centralized knowledge base. Your processes aren’t doing anyone any good if they’re not easily accessible. Being locked away in someone’s head or a binder no one can track down both count as not being easily accessible.

At Process Street, we use Pages for all of our documentation. They’re easy to update, easy to locate, and everything from videos to workflows can be embedded straight into the document. It has been an absolute game-changer for our efficiency, communication, and collaboration. Everyone is on the same page (literally) and if there’s any confusion, we know exactly where to find the answer.

Documentation goes a long way to ensuring your processes are standardized. If it’s written down somewhere, your employees just need to follow each step every time they use the process. This is the idea behind workflows: Standardized processes that anyone can use with virtually zero training or experience and get the same result as someone who’s performed that process a hundred times.

But – and of course, there’s a but – it’s not enough to standardize and document your processes. Those processes also need to be flexible, so they can be easily changed and updated as your company’s needs change. Static documents are the fastest way to reach the normalization of deviance and have all of those perfect processes brushed off as irrelevant or inadequate.

Standardization and documentation are essential for any department to function properly, but you’re here about HR best practices.

HR best practice #1: Transparency


Talk to your people. It sounds like really basic advice, but it’s an area a lot of companies fall down on. Your employees may not like, agree with, or even care about a particular decision, but clueing them in on it will impact their attitude towards it.

Example: Recently, a project we were working on turned out to not be as great as we thought it would. It happens. I wasn’t directly involved with the project or the person leading it, though we did technically exist within the same department.

To be perfectly blunt, this project and what happened to it didn’t factor into my day-to-day at all. But when the decision was made to shut it down, our department’s VP messaged each of us personally to explain what happened.

Did he have to do that? Absolutely not.

Was I invested in the project at all? Not one bit.

Did I appreciate the gesture? 100% did.

That small, relatively insignificant gesture showed that he cared about keeping us looped in on wider department events. Done as a private message, it also provided a safe space for each of us to ask any questions we might have about the situation.

Transparency fosters trust, trust fosters security, security fosters loyalty.

Creating a solid communication plan is the perfect way to determine the best communication methods for employees, leadership, and even customers. The following template will walk you through every step from choosing the type of communication plan you need to implementing your finished message.Using form fields, subtasks, and approvals, this template keeps everyone involved on the same page and ensures you have the right message reaching the right people in the right way. You can also customize it as needed, or use it straight from the (figurative) box.

Click here to add the Communication Plan Template to your Process Street account!

HR best practice #2: Ongoing training programs

Even employees who’ve been with the company for years will still need training. Heck. It’s likely those employees need it the most.

Your new hires get trained on the most recent policies, procedures, and processes. They don’t have any old habits to unlearn and new methods to relearn. No one’s going to look at a new hire and say, Oh, well you already know how we do thingamajig, because no one is going to expect them to even know what thingamajig is.

Your existing employee? You make presumptions about what they do and do not know all the time, probably without even realizing it. What happens, though, is the existing employees get left behind when it comes to process changes, you end up with a million different ways to do one thing, and no guarantee that any of those ways is the actual, correct way.

We have weekly team training sessions. They’re very informal, and, since we’ve had several new writers join the team, many of the recent ones are related to onboarding and basic tasks that those of us who’ve been around awhile already know.

Thing is, though, these reviews are still helpful, even though some of us have been performing these tasks for years. You get new perspectives, more efficient methods, and explanations for things you never thought to question – or just don’t remember the answer to. Plus those of us with experience have discovered resources and methods that make the task easier, which gets added into the training material.

Our Training Plan Template offers a standardized outline that you can use to build your own ongoing training program. This template uses both task assignments and conditional logic to customize the training plan to the relevant team and department. Task assignments let you give a particular person ownership over the task. Conditional logic, meanwhile, hides any irrelevant or unnecessary tasks so users only see what they need – and you can use the same template for multiple situations. Click here to get our Training Plan Template!

HR best practice #3: Check your hostility

You aren’t solely on the company’s side. You aren’t solely on the employees’ side, either. At various points, one or both of these groups will be unhappy with you. That’s fine. Your job isn’t to make people happy; your job is to facilitate communication between two groups whose interests don’t always align perfectly.

Your company culture should reflect this, and both leadership and employees should feel able to communicate their needs, ideas, and pain points to and through you for the benefit of everyone. As our own VP of people once said, what’s best for everyone isn’t always what’s best for a single individual.

That’s true in any group, from friends to colleagues to neighbors to whole countries. If the employees need something to improve their engagement or productivity but leadership don’t necessarily see the value of it, it’s on you to advocate for those employees and why that need should be met.

Likewise, if leadership takes the company in a direction that the employees don’t like or don’t understand, it’s your job to explain the why, how, and when.

Traditionally, HR has been viewed as the enemy. HR doesn’t care about employees; they only serve the company. HR is only about discipline and punishment. Getting called into HR can only mean something bad.

Fortunately, many companies are trying to build a kinder, friendlier HR but you still have that stereotype to work against. Employees (and leaders) can be incredibly frustrating and difficult as well. No one’s saying your job is easy, but it’s important to remember that, within a company, there shouldn’t be any US vs Them dynamics happening. If there is, you have a huge problem.

Even with the best intentions, the most positive environment, and most compatible teams, where there are people, a certain amount of conflict is inevitable. Unfortunately, resolving these conflicts falls squarely on your very capable shoulders. Using the following Office Conflict Resolution Checklist will streamline the process for you and provide the appropriate structure needed in tense situations. This template also makes good use of the form fields feature, as well as variables, which pull unique information entered earlier in the workflow to automatically populate later sections.

If you wanted to further customize the workflow, you could add an Automation that links to an agreement in DocuSign, creates an incident ticket in Jira, or even launches another workflow in Process Street.

Click here to get started with the Office Conflict Resolution template!

HR best practice #4: Know your people

Millennials are famously (or infamously) known for being prolific job-hoppers. I’ve worked in about six different industries during my adult working life – none of which have anything to do with my actual degree.

I’m not going to dive into possible reasons for the job-hopping tendency; there are many divisive opinions on that and it’s not why we’re here.

Point is: Your current workforce, which is likely made up of a fair amount of Millennials and a growing number of Gen Z, is one of your most overlooked resources. They very likely have skills and experience completely unrelated to their current position – but could be very beneficial to the company’s vision and long-term goals.

If you aren’t aware of these hidden abilities in your employees, you’re either going to miss out on a great opportunity, or have to hire someone to do a job that an existing employee can do with a little upskilling and maybe a raise. Internal promotions are so much better for morale and engagement than external hires.

In order to maximize your employees’ potential – and uncover those secret talents they might have – you need to conduct a development plan with each of them. Like most of the things on this list, it seems like an obvious project. You know what training is needed for what position, but inevitably something will slip through the cracks. Either an employee misses a crucial training module or perhaps that module just hasn’t been updated recently.

Either way, documenting each employee’s development is the perfect way to make sure all your sheets stay balanced. Our Employee Development Plan Template can help you do that. It outlines everything you should cover with your employee, including their personal career goals, skills to develop, and future progress checkpoints. Creating a document like this will also remind both of you to set time aside specifically to focus on achieving these goals. Click here to add the Employee Development Plan Template to your Process Street account!

HR best practice maintenance for the long-term

The caveat to all of this, of course, is that these practices are only the best so long as they serve your current needs and objectives.

Your department’s best practices should constantly be reexamined and reevaluated to ensure they’re covering the most important aspects of your culture in the most efficient and effective way.

Standardizing your processes and creating a centralized knowledge base that everyone can access is a great way to do this.

For example, at Process Street we use workflows to connect, collaborate, and complete all of our tasks. These workflows are easy to update – by anyone – so they always remain current. They’re living processes that change and grow alongside our company.

Our internal knowledge base is all documented in Pages, which lives alongside our workflows so that everyone in the team, department, and company has access to the same information at the same time. Plus it’s way easier to update than a binder with 50 different appendices and a few missing sections.

We’d love to hear about the HR practices you have in your business that have proven successful. Let us know in the comments below!

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Jane Courtnell

Hi there, I am a Junior Content Writer at Process Street. I graduated in Biology, specializing in Environmental Science at Imperial College London. During my degree, I developed an enthusiasm for writing to communicate environmental issues. I continued my studies at Imperial College's Business School, and with this, my writing progressed looking at sustainability in a business sense. When I am not writing I enjoy being in the mountains, running and rock climbing. Follow me at @JaneCourtnell.


7 Comments

I found your article very informative and you had great use of facts throughout the article.Thanks for sharing this valuable information with us, it is really helpful article!

Brilliant article for someone who just started a career in HR without a major in HR and also for non-HR professionals to have a basic understanding on HR function. It would be great if you can share any presentation or any pdf doc. that includes a consolidated contents that you explained.

Hi, Thanks for this article. It was very useful and I was able to extract some key points. Also cited accordingly. 🙂


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