A day in the life of an HR professional

Talent acquisition, candidate experience, employee engagement, employee development, benefits administration, risk management…..Oh my! These are just a few things that HR professionals have to focus on during a given day. Long gone are the days of HR being a paper-pushing department that’s locked away in the corner of the office where it has no interaction with employees unless they’re “in trouble”. Today’s HR is dynamic, highly focused on employee engagement, and acts as a strategic business partner to the overall organization.

One of the most important aspects of today’s HR, and one of the most significant areas of success for an organization, is attracting and identifying the right talent. Organizations succeed or fail by the type of players that are on their team, and HR must be innovative and laser-focused when it comes to attracting talent. Recruiting is just like sales and marketing for your organization. With recruiting, you need to tell your company’s “story” effectively. It’s important to know where you going to tell that story in order to attract the right talent for your organization.    

Social media is a great way to tell your company’s story. Candidates want to understand what it’s like to be an employee at your organization. They want to see how you care for your employees, along with getting a feel for what your company culture might be like if they worked for you. You can showcase all of this and more through your company social media pages without ever even posting for a job at your organization. Today’s HR is savvy when it comes to recruitment marketing, and understands that developing a strong company culture where candidates seek you is the absolute best recruitment tool there is!

So, what do you do once you have candidates seeking you out? You make sure to provide them with an absolutely stellar candidate experience. Today’s HR should make it their mission to turn all candidates, regardless if they end up being hired or not, into walking billboards for their employment brand. You do this by over-communicating to candidates during the interview process, taking the time to provide productive feedback to candidates when they are not selected, promote a “two-way street” with the interview making sure that all candidates understand that they should interview you just as much as you are interviewing them, and finally you need to ask for feedback on their experience with you during the process. Set-up an auto survey through SurveyMonkey, and ask for the good, the bad and the ugly. Remember that your job is to provide a stellar candidate experience, and you can’t do this if you don’t know the hard truth on what needs to improve in your process.  

You know that you have succeeded in providing a stellar candidate experience when someone who was not hired tells someone else “they didn’t hire me, but wow I had a great interview experience with them and you should definitely apply.”

One of the most difficult challenges that today’s HR professional faces is creating an environment that fosters a great amount of dedication to employee engagement. Employees should feel challenged professionally yet also supported. It sounds simple, but one of the best (and surprisingly the most difficult) ways to promote engagement is just to talk openly with your employees. Make a sincere effort to go out of your way every day to walk around and call or visit employees in other offices if you have a dispersed workforce. We are all very busy, but if you want a great company culture, then something as genuine as having real conversations with employees will far outweigh free office snacks or a ping pong table.  

Employee development is also a very important focus for HR, and if done right, can also help to promote employee engagement. At Darr Schackow Insurance, where I serve as VP of HR & Talent Acquisition, we go above and beyond with our employee development efforts. We start the engagement process before the new employee even begins their first day with us through what we call “On-boarding Calls” where we prep a new employee for their first day and week with us. We also go over everything that they can expect during that time, cover questions they may have, outline all expectations, and make sure that they know how excited we are to have them join our team.  

From there we schedule a “Training Call”, and this helps to determine their particular learning style so that we can make adjustments to the initial training processes, if needed. Once a new employee starts, they go through a very detailed 90-day on-boarding and training process that includes 30, 60, and 90-day self-assessment and performance reviews. We also perform quarterly peer feedback sessions, along with annual performance reviews and mid-year touch bases with all employees.  

As you can see, today’s HR professional has a very difficult and extremely important job. At the end of the day, as cliché as it may sound, people are truly a company’s greatest asset and it’s HR’s job to attract the right talent for the right role, develop them, support them, and foster a culture that aligns with the needs of its employees and the goals of the organization.  

You can’t do this without having a true love for what you do every day, asking for feedback, constantly evaluating your processes and goals, and most importantly always remembering that the word “Human” is in Human Resources for a reason.

By Jamy Smith

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