Are you on a HR hamster wheel?

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Written by Mandy Chapman

Then it gets on its little wheel… and goes nowhere.

Are your strategic efforts exhausted on the spinning wheel of day to day firefighting? You’re not alone. Mandy Chapman from the HR enhancement consultancy HRCubed, explains.

Many of the HR leaders we work with have great ambition, their strategy aligns with organisational goals and they have business needs at the forefront of their plans.

But in a lot of organisations, HR teams have become hamsters – running on a perpetual wheel of fire-fighting that stops them executing their strategy and initiatives, no matter how fast they run.

The result is an inability to address the real issues within their organisation, which corrodes HR value, leads to reputational damage and intensifies the whole merry-go-round until it seems the only option is to try and run faster.  

To jump off the wheel requires a clear plan that strikes at the roots of HR’s operational issues. This is an ongoing priority, not a one-off event.

Am I on a wheel?

When you’re on the wheel it can be hard to see. You’re so caught up in the day-to-day battles that it becomes difficult to let go and take a step back.

But if any of the items on this list feel familiar, then you might want to think about making a change now – even small changes in one key area of your function can have positive effects and can help to build momentum for change:

  • We have manual processes in HR or payroll
  • We have too many workarounds
  • We have duplication of data across systems
  • We have payroll errors including overpayments and underpayments
  • We find it difficult to report on key employee metrics, such as turnover, attrition or time to hire
  • We do not have modern HR systems
  • Our systems are clunky and out-dated
  • We have poor user engagement across the business
  • Our HR systems seem to work against us and are not user-friendly
  • We do not provide the level of service to the business that they require
  • Our reputation as a department is poor
  • Approval routes are circumvented
  • The business doesn’t understand what we do in HR
  • The business has unrealistic expectations
  • Our HR systems do not talk to one another or to payroll

We have cost-effective ways of pin-pointing and resolving these issues with you, without over-engineering the task. We also love to start small, ensuring you can see real value in what we deliver.

What should you do?

We always rely on the Process, Technology, People model. These three elements of business will never be perfectly aligned but reviewing and striving for alignment should always be near the top of your list.

The one area we find that people focus on, and often become obsessed by, is technology.

In the right hands, technology is a true enabler of people and performance. But technology projects that don’t link directly to people and processes tend to become painful, drawn out experiences where processes and design decisions are repeatedly unpicked, while Board and stakeholder expectations have to be reset. 

In our experience, there are three key reasons for this:

  • Processes are seldom mapped out to understand current or desired state and are not kept up to date following implementation
  • During technology review, functions and requirements become more important than business process, which is then often gazumped completely in favour of ‘standard system processes’
  • Desired outcomes are not clearly articulated, meaning that no one knows what good will look like

HRCubed specialise in taking a practical approach to aligning your systems (old or new) to your people and processes and as a result, improving the service that HR provides to the organisation.

To find out more about the low levels of investment and high ROI achievable by following our approach, visit HRCubed.