The right HR initiatives and strategies can be a key part of HR transformation, making a significant impact on an organization and its people. Major brands like Google, Intel, and Walmart found this to be true when they put some innovative human resources initiatives in place, as you’ll soon discover.
HR initiatives are policies in action: They address particular challenges that affect an organization’s people, keep businesses competitive, and make the work of HR professionals more efficient and effective.
In fact, they can be an integral part of a company’s success, benefiting nearly every aspect of the team member lifecycle—from recruitment and onboarding to engagement, performance, and retention.
Let’s take a look at some of the best HR initiatives, and examine the key components for success to inspire you for 2024.
Key components of successful HR initiatives
Successful HR initiatives tend to have three key components. They:
- Put people first. Because when people are taken care of, the whole business benefits. Strategic HR initiatives that have this principle as their North Star will be on the right track from the very beginning.
- Meet the company’s needs. An initiative also needs to help an organization meet specific business objectives.
- Focus on continuous improvement. By regularly analyzing key metrics and listening to feedback, an organization can steer an initiative toward success.
HR initiative examples
Below you’ll find some examples of innovative HR initiative ideas as inspiration to reach your own HR goals:
Recruitment is a challenging aspect of HR.
Replacing a team member costs, on average, around six months of their salary, and it’s difficult to find the right talent for the job. Referrals from professionals within your organization help bring you the right talent in less time—cutting down recruitment costs.
Because referrals are so beneficial, some organizations encourage the practice by establishing referral bonuses. These are incentives for team members to recommend people they know and trust when an opportunity becomes available.
Referral bonuses can be a great strategy for improving diversity and inclusion as well as attracting top talent.
Tech giant Intel wanted to hire more underrepresented groups in the tech industry, so they established a diversity referral program that offered $4,000 to team members who recommended women, minorities, and veterans for opportunities.
Artificial intelligence and preboarding
Preboarding contributes to an effective onboarding experience for a new hire, but it usually involves simple tasks, like paperwork, that can be automated.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is useful for automating the process. PepsiCo uses AI to create a personalized onboarding plan based on a new hire’s role, along with interactive videos to familiarize them with the organization.
This kind of automation frees up an HR professional’s time, so they can focus on making a new hire feel as welcome as possible.
Many organizations use gamification to improve engagement levels. Gamification turns an ordinary task into a game with features like rewards, leaderboards, and badges, so that it’s a more enjoyable experience.
Deloitte was having trouble engaging senior executives with leadership training. To fix the issue, they “gamified” the training process by including badges and leaderboards.
This simple form of gamification halved the amount of time it took for users to complete the training.
Removing job titles
Some businesses have complicated hierarchical structures that cause issues in manager and team member relationships. Getting rid of corporate job titles can simplify things and flatten the hierarchy—improving relations.
Back in Motion Health Group found equity issues in their traditional hierarchical structure. In order to help tackle this issue, the company decided to remove corporate job titles and use a flatter structure—promoting accountability and transparency.
The result wasn’t only better internal relations, but a significant improvement in company performance, leading to greater annual revenue.
Virtual reality training
Virtual reality (VR) can lie at the heart of HR initiatives for employee engagement, making it easier for businesses to improve training processes and efficiency.
Walmart used VR to improve the onboarding process for new hires, reducing training time from eight hours to 15 minutes. And MGM Resorts also discovered that VR could form part of HR initiatives for employee retention, as they found that using VR reduced attrition rates for new hires by giving job candidates a taste of what it’s like to work for the company.
Retaining and retraining
During a financial crisis, many businesses resort to firing professionals to stay afloat. While this might provide temporary relief, replacing those team members can be even more expensive than retaining them, costing around 50 percent of their salaries.
That’s why telecommunications giant BT decided to retain their people during a financial crisis, and retrained them—ensuring that they would be able to contribute to other areas of the business.
This not only reduced their hiring costs but also created a multi-skilled and engaged workforce that was able to successfully navigate the financial storm.
Vacation days are an alluring benefit to draw and retain top talent. But can you imagine team members giving away their days off to another person?
One Google professional used up all their paid leave to take care of a sick family member. Another team member asked if they could donate their leave to help that professional, starting a new initiative that became a famous part of Google’s HR strategy.
This initiative is a great way to promote a supportive workplace culture, and business leaders can also use it as a form of recognition for their teams. Management can create a vacation leave fund where they donate vacation days to deserving professionals.
How to implement HR initiatives in your organization
There are a few steps you can take to implement your strategic HR initiatives successfully:
- Collect data and feedback. For strategic human resources initiatives to be effective, they need to address the needs of the people within your organization, as well as the company’s goals. Carry out surveys, feedback sessions, and performance evaluations to discover any potential opportunities for improvement.
- Identify organizational needs. Consider any challenges your organization is facing and what you’d like to achieve by implementing the initiative.
- Create an action plan. Based on the data you’ve gathered, create a step-by-step action plan for rolling out the initiative within a specific time frame.
- Define key HR metrics. To be able to measure the impact of your initiative, it helps to define the key metrics for success (more on that below).
- Execute and monitor. Roll out the initiative and monitor its progress, making adjustments as needed.
- Evaluate and improve. After a set trial period, evaluate the key metrics you defined earlier. Ask for feedback from team members and make improvements.
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Measuring the success of HR initiatives
It’s important to define your key metrics for success so you can measure the impact of an HR initiative. What metrics you use depends on your objectives, but to give you an idea, here are some of the key metrics you could include:
- Team member performance
- Job satisfaction
- Retention rates
Along with assessing key metrics, seek feedback from your team to determine whether or not an initiative has been successful.
The future of HR initiatives
Developing trends can give us an idea of what the future of HR initiatives will look like, helping you stay ahead of the curve in 2024.
There’ll be greater dependence on technology like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality in HR initiatives for employees—which means organizations will be investing in training for team members to keep up with evolving technology.
In fact, there’ll be greater development of wellbeing initiatives in the near future. Since lack of wellbeing and burnout was proven to be one of the leading causes of the recent Great Resignation, organizations will be looking to address this.
These key HR initiatives for wellbeing will extend to supporting professionals who choose to work from home, attending to issues such as “Zoom burnout” and isolation.
Because the experience of your team is proving to be such an integral part of modern HR, there are predictions that HR itself will evolve and include specialized team experience departments within organizations—focused on creating a satisfying work life for all.