HR is full of jargon and acronyms. This can be off-putting and make the whole thing seem very complicated and daunting.
To help you navigate HR speak, we’re going to demystify some of the most common jargon for you in this post.
The term Human Resources describes both the people who work for a company and the department responsible for ensuring the right plans, practices and processes are in place for the people employed by the company.
Who came up with this one though? People are more than just resources – surely there’s a better term for a function that aims to make employees happier, more motivated and ultimately more productive? Thinking of humans as resources fails to take into account any individuality – it makes everyone sound like an identikit cog in a machine. Personnel is another term for Human Resources, although it still sounds a bit stiff. Think about using a different term in your organisation if you can. We like to move away from terms like staff, resources and personnel and would rather use terms like talent, people and teams.
This phrase is bandied around all the time in HR departments and boardrooms, but what does it really mean? It means the level of emotional investment your employees have in your business – how do they feel towards their place of work, role, position within the company, colleagues and culture?
Why should employers care about engagement? Because contented employees with a clear sense of purpose are more likely to give you discretionary effort and contribute more to your company, which impacts your bottom line. Employees are the ones ultimately responsible for carrying out the business strategy and in turn, making profit, so it’s essential that they’re on board.
You probably have business plans and strategies that include goals and ambitions across the business, in finance, customer experience, operations and other areas, but do you have a people plan?
People are one of your greatest assets, one of your biggest expenses and one of your biggest differentiators that sets you apart from your competitors. Your strategy and business plans should incorporate a well-defined people plan to help make sure your people, their needs, development and wellbeing are at the heart of all your activities.
A people plan is a road map for all your people activities in your business. It sets out a Company’s activities across the entire employee experience that will boost employee engagement and drive growth for both your people and your business. The activities will align with and support the Company to reach its strategic goals. Elements of a people plan will include activities centred around reward, recognition, recruitment, learning and development, organisation design (see below) and employee engagement.
Organisation design (OD)
This refers to the way a business organises its work and its people in order to meet its purpose – its goals, strategy and vision. It involves a review of what needs to be achieved and its current position. The organisation design process will help to bridge the gap between the two, ensuring the business is set up as effectively as possible to meet its future goals.
This begins with understanding the work that is required in the organisation and allocating and defining roles with job descriptions. It then looks at how the roles are co-ordinated and managed, including looking at reporting lines and departments. It involves ensuring the right hierarchy is in place and that managers at all levels are set up for success (that they don’t have too many or too few people reporting to them) and that they have the right processes and capability in place to measure, reward and manage performance.
This clarity is important to ensure that everyone knows the role they are playing in the business and what is expected of them. Good organisation design makes sure that all employees have the right management and support in place. It also makes sure that all employees have the level of autonomy that is right for them.
Done well, organisation design streamlines hierarchies and eliminates unnecessary layers that can slow down decision making and lead to frustration and resentment.
Organisation design therefore covers systems and structures required to deliver work, people practices, policies and processes, reward and performance management as well as the organisations culture and future business goals and direction.
Companies might look to review their organisation design if their strategy changes and they need to realign their organisation to these new goals or if they need to consolidate operations or have experienced growth in their business. Other internal or external factors might also trigger a need to redesign the structure, for example new technologies or ways of working in the industry.
Talent management is the systematic attraction, identification, development, engagement, retention and deployment of employees. So what does that really mean?
In a nutshell it involves;
- Workforce planning – determining future workforce needs, identifying the gap between the present and the future, and implementing solutions. It’s about getting the right number of people with the right skills employed in the right place at the right time, at the right cost and on the right contract to deliver an organisations goals
- Talent planning – Once an organisation is clear on the roles and skills required in the future they need to, in addition to external recruitment, identify the plans they need to put in place to bridge any gaps for current staff
- Succession planning – identifying successors for critical roles or senior roles in the business and developing plans to help people be ready for these roles. Focussing on the right future skills and leadership qualities required.
- Assessing talent – evaluating an individual to determine potential for a new role or a leadership position and ensuring the right development and support is in place to help them reach their potential
Talent management is about recognising and managing the people and skills you have and need within your business to meet your future goals.
It sounds similar to talent management, but performance management is slightly different – it is an ongoing process of communication between a manager and an employee to help ensure both the organisation’s goals and the individuals development needs are met.
It involves setting clear expectations, ensuring regular feedback and providing development & support.
Performance management can be based on metrics and data as well as anecdotal observation and conversational appraisal.
Many companies are moving away from the traditional approach, the annual review process that tends to focus on the past and that most people dread! They are adopting a culture of ongoing conversation, timely feedback and a focus on strengths, future development and goals.
Positive performance management will bring the best out of your people and surely that’s what every employer wants! Making feedback and support a positive experience and part of everyday life is however not an easy task. The right culture and leadership behaviours are crucial to successfully embedding this in a business.
At Brocklehurst HR, we like to keep things simple and speak to people in their own language. We won’t use HR buzzwords or phrases that sound clever for the sake of it.
If you’re ready to have a clear conversation about your people, get in touch.