Your HR department is at the core of your business’ operating engine. Whether your HR staff consists of one person or dozens of people, its activities have a major impact on how the company functions as a whole. Employees’ interaction with your HR department plays an important role in how they feel about the company and their individual job roles. Whenever your staff needs help with something, your HR department needs to be able to provide prompt and effective assistance.
Furthermore, your HR department’s policies are important to providing staff with a positive working environment that’s free from conflicts, harassment, and other problems that could have a detrimental effect on your workforce. Being proactive about common employee issues and being able to respond to issues as they arise will ultimately create a better and stronger workforce. In addition to promoting employee satisfaction and productivity, you’ll help protect your company against claims related to employment practices liability.
To build a great HR team, you need to be able to give them extensive ongoing training. Don’t expect everyone working in HR to already have expert level knowledge about every aspect of HR administration. Bear in mind, a lot of the laws and regulations pertaining to HR administration are constantly changing. For example, changes to federal statutory law such as the Affordable Care Act can have a dramatic impact on your internal policies relating to health insurance coverage.
Temporary rules such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 can affect key HR policies about time off. The best way to make sure that your staff will handle matters compliantly is with training. In addition to helping HR staff stay apprised of important regulations and guidelines, ongoing training initiatives can teach them valuable skills that will enable them to work more effectively. They can strengthen their command of time management, develop new ways to create more helpful performance reviews, and utilize strategies aimed at creating a more positive company culture.
Employees’ training about certain HR matters shouldn’t end at the time that their orientation at the time of hiring ends. Training initiatives can address some of employees most common HR-related questions, and they can help prevent certain problems before they arise. For example, a formal training program about harassment can teach employees about what constitutes impermissible conduct while on-the-job. An annual training about changes to important benefits administration issues such as health insurance coverage can clear up ambiguity about key issues. Training will make sure that everyone has access to vital information, and they provide a forum in which people can ask questions.
Providing staff with an employee handbook that addresses many of the most important HR questions is one of the best ways how your HR can help address common employee issues. A comprehensive employee handbook serves as a playbook for your HR team. They’ll know how to handle a lot of the most commonly fielded HR questions because they’ll have a clear written policy. A handbook ensures that matters will be conducted consistently, and HR staff can respond to questions as quickly as possible.
They won’t have to decide how to handle something on the spot. Moreover, employees won’t have to consult with the HR department for answers to a lot of their most essential questions. A good handbook should cover what employees are exempt and nonexempt, how time-off is calculated, and how time-off should be requested. It should also address issues related to benefits eligibility and important contact information regarding benefits. Ultimately, a handbook should be a resource that outlines some of your company’s most important policies; you need to include a nondiscrimination and anti harassment policy.
Many common employee issues relate to timekeeping. An employee may have to check in with several different staff members who are supervisors as well as staff in your HR department just to report a change in their schedule or ask a question about time-off. Using a timekeeping platform that allows people to clock in and out easily will make it easy for HR staff to track staff’s hours and avoid problems or discrepancies with how wages are calculated.
One of the best ways how your HR staff can help address common employee issues is by utilizing technology that streamlines employees’ information and makes it readily accessible. Accessibility is particularly critical for questions related to timekeeping and payroll. Use a payroll system that makes it easy for employees to review their information. They won’t have to go through your HR department when they have questions about the amount of time off that’s accumulated within a pay period or how much has been contributed to an FSA account. You won’t have a surge of panicked calls before a tax return filing deadline because people have lost W2 information because they had access to only one paper copy. Making it easy for people to get the information that they need themselves will give your employees a lot of peace of mind, and it can help eliminate a lot of unnecessary burdens for your HR staff.
While no HR department wants for all employees to be happy in their jobs and doesn’t want to have to deal with employee grievance issues, it’s important that you have a pre established grievance procedure to handle these types of scenarios. You need a policy that explains to employees what they should do when they have a grievance. It should outline to whom grievances should be communicated and how they should be communicated. Generally, formal grievances should be relayed in writing so that they will be clearly documented.
If a grievance is about one’s direct supervisor, an employee should have a person to whom he or she can direct a grievance other than his or her supervisor. It may be a good course of action to appoint a grievance committee that includes members from both your HR team and management team. Your policy should establish a timeline in which grievances will be responded to. A formal grievance process doesn’t necessarily invite grievances, it simply provides clarity about how grievances should be handled. It shows that your company takes employees grievances seriously, encourages an open-dialog with employees about their concerns, and helps ensure that matters will be handled in a uniform way.
When your staff has questions about their benefits enrollment, it would be preferable for them to be able to interact directly with your benefits administrator or insurance carrier rather than your HR department. Requiring your HR employees to serve as a middleman may create a breakdown in communication, and any type of miscommunication or unnecessary delay could result in liability exposure. When you’re building a benefits package with your insurance provider, be sure to let your agent know that it’s important to you that employees have direct access to an administrator.
Your HR staff can address common employee issues with clear written policies for guidance, training for quality and consistency, and technology that facilitates access to important information about timekeeping and wages. Ultimately, equipping your HR staff with the tools that they need to work efficiently will benefit your entire workforce.
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