8 HR Best Practices for the Year Ahead [2024]

8 HR Best Practices for the Year Ahead [2024]

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The past few years have been all about change — and the workplace has been no exception. Remote and hybrid work models have taken center stage, mental health has risen as a priority, and technology is reshaping processes and roles. With a new year rolling in, how can you be sure that your HR best practices keep up with these new challenges?

Here’s a guide with the 8 HR best practices to start planning and navigating the year ahead. Let’s go!

What Are HR Best Practices?

HR best practices are the foundations of your HR department. They help you develop strategies and support decision making. They are not a collection of things you do, but the approach you have towards them.

In fact, that’s the difference between HR activities and HR best practices.

It’s important to revise HR best practices every year, to make sure they reflect changes in workplace dynamics and updates in labor regulations.

8 HR Best Practices for this Year

1. Showcase Your Workplace’s Culture and Values During the Hiring Process

Employees that feel aligned with their company’s mission, values, and work ethic are more likely to be motivated and engaged. That’s why it’s important to evaluate cultural fit during the hiring process.

Job descriptions are a great starting point to provide clarity about your company’s culture and values. Rather than focusing solely on role-based skills and daily tasks, try to convey things like:

  • What makes your company unique
  • What success looks like for the position
  • How the role contributes to the overall mission, goals, and values.

This will make it easier to attract like-minded candidates that resonate with your brand’s voice and messaging.

2. Create a Dedicated Onboarding Experience

First impressions matter —and that’s especially true if it’s your first day at work. Onboarding sets the tone for employees’ successful journey in your company and has proven to have a strong, beneficial impact on productivity.

However, it’s easy to miss the mark: a Gallup study showed that only 12% of employees in the U.S. considered their organization to have a good onboarding process.

So, what makes a well-structured onboarding program? Here are some good practices to keep in mind:

  • Combine different training methods. E-learning allows candidates to learn at their own pace and can be tailored based on the role needs. However, don’t forget to add a personal touch with real-time interactions and activities.
  • Assign an ‘onboarding buddy’ to new employees. Choose a current employee to support new hires as they become familiarized with the company and their specific role.

3. Provide Relevant, Personalized Training Programs

Company training programs should be on your HR best practices agenda for this year.

Investing in training opportunities shows employees that you care about their growth and can do a lot to boost company performance and upskill your workforce for the future. At the same time, it keeps employees motivated: Linkedin research shows that 94% of employees would stay longer at companies that invest in their learning and development.

Finally, businesses that prioritize training become very attractive for job seekers, who tend to prefer companies where they can expand their skill sets.

How to improve your training programs this year?

  • Train employees with relevant soft skills. Personal skills help employees communicate and collaborate as a team. Consider adding soft skills training related to customer service, leadership, teamwork, negotiation, and emotional intelligence.
  • Personalized training. E-learning platforms allow employees to curate their learning journey based on their skills, needs, and interests. This improves employee motivation and nurtures the desire to learn.

4. Promote an Inclusive Workplace

Creating an inclusive work environment is more than just a checkbox on your HR-to do list: it’s a daily pledge that defines your entire organization — and attracts those who’d like to be a part of it.

It involves celebrating diversity, fostering collaboration, and nurturing a culture of respect. Ensuring that employees’ voices are heard and valued, sparks creativity and makes them feel engaged.

So, how to make your workplace more inclusive?

  • Allow employees to express concerns, report problems and provide critical feedback through effective channels, including regular surveys and anonymous suggestion boxes.
  • Use blind recruitment techniques to minimize biases and focus on skills and qualifications during the hiring process.
  • Provide safe spaces in the workplace, such as gender-neutral bathrooms and nursing rooms. 
  • Ensure that your workplace is accessible to all employees.

5. Understand Employees Specific Needs to Craft Your Compensation and Benefits Package

In uncertain economic times, offering a compelling compensation and benefits package can help you attract and retain top talent, while making employees feel appreciated and supported.

Over the last few years, employee expectations about benefits have been changing dramatically, so you’ll probably need to adjust your offering.

Here’s what to focus on when rethinking your reward policy:

  • Wellness and mental health benefits should be a high priority. Financial stress and the rising healthcare costs are seriously affecting employees. A recent survey found that, among the companies who say they’re adding benefits in the next year, 41% will be adding mental health preventive benefits. And you should, too.
  • More flexibility for working parents. The pandemic exposed the need for new strategies to support work-life balance, especially for parents. With more than 10 states in the U.S. adopting paid parental leave policies, it’s key to bring flexible work policies front and center and consider benefits like backup care or on-site childcare.

6. Follow Up-To-Date Labor and Employment Laws and Regulations

HR compliance is a critical aspect in any organization. Not just to protect your business from legal disputes and fines, but to guarantee a safe and fair environment for your employees.

To stay compliant, companies need to stay informed and keep up with complex business regulations. For small businesses, partnering with a Professional Employer Solution (PEO) can be beneficial to manage compliance and address potential issues before they get serious.

Here are a few best practices for regulatory compliance:

  • Comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA): if you have 50 or more full-time employees you must provide health insurance to at least 95% of your workforce. If you need help to navigate this regulation and its requirements, check out ours ACA’s compliance solution.
  • Maintain Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) compliance. EEO guidelines involve treating employees and job applicants equally when it comes to compensation, hiring, benefits, layoffs, and more. Depending on the number of employees you have, you might be required to fill out EEO reports.

7. Provide Regular, Constructive Feedback to Employees

Providing employee feedback on a regular basis is definitely an HR best practice you’d like to embrace this year.

Feedback helps employees understand their strengths and areas for development. Receiving timely, meaningful, and specific feedback allows them to address performance issues and be rewarded for their positive contributions.

Here’s how to improve employee’s feedback this year:

  • 360-degree feedback. This strategy evaluates employees’ performance from multiple perspectives, not only their supervisor or manager, but also coworkers and even customers.
  • Foster a culture of recognition. Recognizing the effort of your employees keeps them engaged and motivated to do their best work. You can offer a mix of tangible rewards (such as gift cards, bonuses, pay rises, or tickets to events) and intangible rewards (a day off, personal development opportunities, or public praise from a manager).

8. Leverage Technology to Manage Time-Tracking and Time Off

Embracing time-tracking software can help businesses automate daily processes related to managing time, attendance, and paid off time. This is especially helpful if you have a large, distributed workforce.

By using software, you can minimize the risk of errors, gain insight into employees’ working hours and productivity, and make sure that everyone gets paid fairly.

This not only saves time, but also promotes a more transparent and accountable workplace culture.

HR teams can benefit from time-tracking software to:

  • Calculate overtime for your workers. You can define a work schedule, allow employees to clock-in and clock-out to track their work hours and automatically calculate overtime hours and pay.
  • Track paid time off (PTO). Employees can use the software to request vacations and personal time off. That way, you can simplify the process, make approvals, and see who’s on leave.

HR Best Practices Final Thoughts

HR best practices are the guidelines that help HR teams define people management policies, make the right decisions, and keep a motivated workforce.

Best practices should always be aligned with employee expectations (which, as we’ve seen, can change over time) as well as labor regulations, and your business’ mission and goals.

At CertiPay, we help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and organizations manage their entire employment cycle, providing a wide range of solutions that go from ACA-compliant health plans to payroll.

Contact us to learn how to build an efficient workforce using HR best practices!

Posted Nov 29, 2023
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