Twenty-One Ways For HR To Create Meaningful Change After #SHRM21

How can HR professionals keep the momentum going after an amazing annual SHRM conference?

We asked HR professionals and exhibitors to share their best steps for HR to take back in their workplace. From harnessing storytelling to expanding the process of vetting candidates, there are identifiable next steps to take. 

Here are twenty-one ways for HR to create meaningful change in the workplace: 

  • Stop trying to go it all alone
  • Use technology as a resource
  • Develop Human-Centric Leaders
  • Social Cohesion for Inclusive Workplaces
  • Use Criminal Records Carefully
  • Consider text messaging
  • Improve employee financial wellness
  • Expand the process of vetting candidates
  • Outsource the Sourcing
  • Get Buy-In From Leadership + Key Employees
  • Leverage the CRM of an ATS
  • Harness Storytelling
  • Begin to offer benefits that employee pet parents need
  • Create your sourcing strategy
  • Look at hiring holistically
  • Define Criteria for Success
  • Get employees connected
  • Make sure remote team members are included
  • Try Broadcast and Internet Radio
  • Consider forming virtual ERGs

Stop Trying to Go It All Alone
Stop trying to go it all alone. There was a time when HR could solve all the company’s wellbeing, mental health and performance problems. That time has come and passed. There’s increased employee demands of wanting work-life balance, a sense of meaning and purpose from work, strong engagement and support, advancement, flexibility, and so on. And all of this is placed into the evolving and chaotic context of the pandemic and its impact on hybrid work , which means we aren’t in Kansas anymore and we need to reach out beyond our traditional comfort zones to leverage expertise in other areas. So, to my HR colleagues: Be bold, innovative, and above all else, not fearful of pulling in experts to navigate these complex times.

George Vergolias, R3 Continuum

Use Technology as a Resource
However your company chooses to define it, one thing is certain: Hybrid remote work is here to stay. Surveys show that 20% of full workdays will be from home post-pandemic—up from just 5% before 2020. One in five employers have already implemented hybrid work, and 86% plan to continue building out work-from-home arrangements. In the midst of all these changes, HR teams are learning what it means to successfully manage a distributed and highly connected workforce.

Miranda Nicholson, Formstack

Develop Human-Centric Leaders
When leaders tap into their natural capacity for care and connection, the entire workplace and culture can transform. According to research, 25% of people are at higher risk of burnout when leaders fail to respond to their needs, 34% show higher job satisfaction when their leader responds to their emotional needs, and organizational commitment is 61% higher when leaders balance business wisdom with compassion. By developing more human-centric leaders, companies can help both leaders and their people to succeed, which has massive impact across the organization.

Marissa Afton, Potential Project

Social Cohesion for Inclusive Workplaces
People managers need to connect authentically with their people. This will foster the element of trust that is needed to make employees feel like they belong. Human Resources needs to create frameworks with plans that drive connection and collaboration within teams. Communication flow has to be clear, and outline action items that provide insights on how to bridge any gaps. Information Technology has to constantly be upgraded to offer easy to use intuitive features. An inclusive workplace culture is everyone’s responsibility; to create socially cohesive workplaces, everyone needs to be willing to cooperate with each other in order to be able to survive and prosper.

Mofota Sefali, Corteva Agriscience

Use Criminal Records Carefully
The automatic disqualification of applicants with a criminal record can be discriminatory under the EEOC guidance and violate Ban the Box and Fair Chance hiring laws. Some applicants need a second chance and may well be great employees.

Lester Rosen, Employment Screening Resources

Consider Text Messaging
When was the last time you picked up the phone from someone you didn't recognize? Sending an email to someone under 25 is akin to sending smoke signals. Texting, however, is nearly as significant now as it was 15 years ago. Ninety-five percent open rates. Over 80 percent opened within 15 mins. or receipt. Over 50 percent engagement rates. Nothing else comes close. You can find just about anyone in the world online, but if you can't get through to them, what's the point?

Joel Cheesman, Poach

Improve Employee Financial Wellness
Employer attention to financial wellness has been accelerated due to the pandemic. To support a workforce with increased desire for financial guidance from their employer, technology that combines education and action is critical. With tools that teach better spending and saving habits, employers can offer an actionable and trackable solution that can help employees take control of their money and improve employee retention and loyalty.   

Chad Porche, eMoney Advisor 

Expand the Process of Vetting Candidates
I think it is important for HR to understand the value of new technology and the value of expanding your process with vetting candidates. Existing screening approaches fail to address and answer key questions such as, is this employee a good fit with our team, how have they spoken about past employers publicly, and how do they treat others? What is needed is a modern approach that helps identify these risks to the organization for both pre-employment as well as continuous screening for existing employees. This is where social media background checks can play a crucial role in reducing risk.

Jaime Frankos, Ferretly International, LLC

Outsource the Sourcing
When it comes to sourcing ideal candidates for your company, an outsourced recruitment strategy should be a consideration. Executive recruiting firms have the knowledge and skills to curate a well-vetted talent pool so you can find qualified candidates. Executive recruiters can take a unique approach to each and every client, taking the time to understand your needs to find the best fit for your company. With a search firm, you can trust you’ll receive the highest quality candidates without the additional stress and time of searching on your own.

Jon Schneider, Recruiterie

Get Buy-In From Leadership + Key Employees
Meaningful change can be difficult to achieve, and even harder to sustain. This isn't something that HR can do on its own. Before beginning any change effort, get buy-in from leadership and key employees. Throughout the change effort, employ these individuals as ambassadors for and early adopters of the initiative. Keep communicating on the change well after the initial implementation, highlighting the "WIIFM" (what's in it for me?) and ambassadors' successes to sustain momentum.

Jennifer Loftus, Astron Solutions

Leverage the CRM of an ATS
We have accelerated our proactive sourcing by creating a secondary team under our talent function that is dedicated to sourcing and building our talent pipelines. By leveraging the CRM component of our applicant system, we create a greater focus on the overall team. These specialists are responsible for goals and metrics related to qualified candidate leads and overall pipeline engagement in our content. Your applicant tracking system is one of your greatest business assets, and having a dedicated focus around that asset is becoming more critical to land the best talent.

Stacie Mallen, Universal Technical Institute

Harness Storytelling
Rather than trying to chase talent via traditional jobs ads, use storytelling to have a constant stream of topnotch candidates who apply proactively. Paint a vivid picture to candidates of what it’s like to work at your company. Communicate your vision, mission, and core values on your company site and promote it via social media channels and Google ads to up the reach. Not only does employer branding help attract candidates on autopilot, but it also helps pre-screen the candidate pool by stating core values upfront.

Magda Klimkiewicz, Zety

Begin To Offer Benefits That Employee Pet Parents Need
With statistics like 47% of pet parents have gone into debt for their pets, it’s clear that employees value the well-being of their pet as much as they do their own. With this in mind, I’d like for HR professionals to recognize the importance pets play in employees' wellness and retention by offering a benefits package that addresses the needs of today’s workforce. Seek pet health plans that help employees not only manage the emergencies but also account for routine care employees need to simply keep their pets healthy and happy. 

Susan Halvorsen, Wagmo

Create Your Sourcing Strategy
Right now, even as a nonprofit social service agency, we are in the none-too-unique position of most organizations in 2021. We are growing tremendously due to the needs for our services in the community and have a high demand for talent. Yet, we are hard pressed to find talent and many of our staff are leaving. So, we're getting as creative as we can given our limited resources. We hired a temporary Talent Acquisition Partner to assist our FT TA Partner manage the workflow and market our roles. In addition, we are exploring getting our first TA sourcing platform, as well as piloting a referral program for our employees to get engaged. This may seem rudimentary, but for our agency, we are excited because this is new and innovative stuff!

Paul LaLonde, CEDA of Cook County, Inc.

Look at Hiring Holistically
HR professionals need to take a holistic view of their entire talent management process pre- and post-hire. Where are there roadblocks in the process? What’s slowing you down? What’s causing you to miss out on top applicants or lose your top performers? Then figure out how you can fill those gaps and address those issues using modern technology. Your people are ultimately the driving force behind the success of your organization, so you can no longer afford to deprioritize the tools and systems you use to hire and manage them.

Kristin Tschantz, Hireology

Define Criteria for Success
I believe in the premise that the most expensive person we hire is the one we fire. I’ve learned that top candidates are not necessarily the best suited candidates. It’s key to determine what is necessary for success in the position. Once we have defined the criteria we can source candidates with clarity and purpose.

Lori Goldsmith, SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP, Heart of HR

Get Employees Connected
At Globalization Partners, we have employees located all over the world, so we created a culture of recognizing not just success at work but also personal triumphs. From celebrating a new baby, a move, a graduation, we post videos and photos on our internal newsfeed. Staying connected and in touch with each other across remote and in-person locations is incredibly important to ensure all employees feel fully appreciated and part of the team.

John Mazzone, Globalization Partners

Make Sure Remote Team Members are Included
In the past we've prioritized the voices of people who were at the office. If you were remote you were likely a secondary thought. Now though, the opinions of people working from home have to be prioritized and you can't seek their input once or twice a year. Executives need to listen and get employee sentiment, eNPS and general feedback on a consistent, on-going basis. That’s easy to do with the right tools, but it's more important than ever so that your remote team members are included.

Logan Mallory, Motivosity

Try Broadcast and Internet Radio
In an attempt to find qualified talent to perform manufacturing and other hourly type work, we have had the most success with broadcast radio. Most people in mass communication can now bundle their products with internet based services like Spotify or iHeartRadio. We use radio ads to drive candidates to our website with custom URLs.

David Ryan, Mel-O-Cream Donuts International, Inc.

Consider Forming Virtual ERGs
Virtual employee resource groups are a valuable tool for creating cultures of inclusivity at hybrid workplaces. Employees who may not be demographically represented within their immediate team or region can find support from colleagues in similar situations across the country. These virtual groups can help team members establish a sense of belonging within the wider organization. Plus, these communities can help battle the loneliness and sense of isolation that often occurs in the scope of remote work.

Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding

Take Action
There was some pretty inspiring stuff at the SHRM Conference: the most decorated Olympian of all-time in Michael Phelps; the first-ever SHRM Workplace Innovation Lab; hundreds of inspiring speaker sessions and innovative companies helping shape HR. The hardest thing to do after being a part of all the conference excitement is to settle down, strategize, and take action. But, if HR is going to create meaningful change in their workplace, it starts with the first step. Hopefully this list inspires some good starting points that were established in Las Vegas, and carry back over to your company.  

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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