Troubleshooting in Human Resources: Step by Step
The main task of HR is to foster a good working environment. And the most important step to achieve this is by solving problems, both those that may arise between departments and between employees.
But what are the main problems that HR manages, and is there a process to solve them efficiently? We’ll tell you about it!
Main HR problems
Managing personal conflicts
It is not uncommon for two employees to argue for some reason. Although these arguments tend to be resolved naturally, there are some cases where the conflict can affect the smooth running of the company. In these cases, HR should intervene to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible, minimizing the consequences for the company.
Generally speaking, the best approach is to bring the affected parties together to talk to each other, with an HR professional as mediator. In this way, the conversation will be calmer, and a solution is more likely to be reached. If not, it will usually be necessary to talk to management.
Arranging time off
It is common for many employees to want to request the same days off (Christmas, Easter, summer, etc.). This is a problem for most companies, which need staff in the office to maintain their activity. As a result, HR will be forced to deny vacations to certain employees, which can be a problem.
To manage these situations, the most important thing is to establish a fixed process with which to organize leave, where certain employees have a higher priority. This method can be based on seniority, order of request or other factors, and must be communicated effectively. Within these methods, the most advisable is by order of request, since the seniority order implies a certain degree of discrimination towards new employees.
One of the most hated tasks for HR is the management of layoffs. No one likes to be laid off from their company, and timing is critical to reduce the negative impact. In addition, the reasons why someone is being laid off are not always fair: sometimes it is necessary to reduce staff due to lack of budget, and it is very difficult to communicate this information without generating resistance.
Managing a dismissal is a complex task because the best way to do it depends to a large extent on the employee in question. If the employee is a calm and understanding worker, the best way is to have a person close to him/her, with whom a close and empathetic communication can be established. But, in the case of more conflicting employees, it is best to manage it in a more impersonal way. Otherwise, the employee may abuse trust and give more aggressive responses.
HR is also in charge of implementing employee training. And, consequently, it is in charge of ensuring that the training courses are attended with maximum attendance. There is no point in implementing company courses if employees do not attend.
To be able to do this follow-up, it is essential to have a data visualization tool that allows to know who attends the classes and who does not, as well as to know the results of the exams. This is what we offer from Classgap for Enterprise, a tracking dashboard where students record their attendance, the courses they are enrolled in and training schedules. In this way, HR can easily organize to determine the effectiveness of courses and employee performance.
All of these and many more are problems that HR must solve. But, at the same time, they also have to manage job interviews, internal communication, and payroll. In short, tasks ranging from the most fundamental to the most routine. Therefore, process automation is key to be able to manage all the situations that occur in a company.
Of course, automating a task means losing some quality. But who wants to receive a payroll with a personalized e-mail? Therefore, it is important to detect all those tasks that can be automated without affecting the results. Payroll, surveys, data collection, management of days off… These tasks have different degrees of importance in companies. Therefore, it is essential to detect which are the least relevant and implement an automation mechanism for them, either through email or different software.
Troubleshooting in HR: Step by Step
1. Prevent problems
The best way to manage a problem is to prevent it from happening. That is why data analysis and personal communication with employees is essential for HR. Ongoing communication will help to detect potential problems within the company, problems that can usually be prevented by taking early action.
For example, if an employee complains that communication with his or her manager is inadequate, HR should talk to the manager to inform him or her of the employee’s dissatisfaction so that he or she can be more careful. Or if a high demand for Christmas vacation is anticipated, HR can report the number of employees who can request the days off to prevent complaints from employees who do not receive them.
2. Define objectives
All the problems faced by HR have one thing in common: to some extent, they divert the company from its objectives. Therefore, it is important to be clear about where the company wants to go in terms of business strategy and management decisions. All HR decisions must be aligned with these factors.
Having clear objectives is essential for an HR department. Not only to do its job properly, but also because it will make problem solving much easier. After all, the responsibility for the objectives does not lie with HR, so they allow situations to be managed more effectively. If the employee has complaints about the objectives, he or she can complain, but HR is not responsible for them.
As mentioned, the best way to resolve a personal conflict between two employees is through a personal meeting, with an HR manager as mediator. Mediation is one of the main skills for an HR professional, one of the skills that is worked on in training, and must be applied in conflict situations.
To mediate correctly, it is essential not to take sides in a conflict, not in an obvious way. It is necessary to understand the interests of both parties and let them talk to each other, while HR makes sure to lower the tone. To do this, it is very beneficial to paraphrase the conversation, look for the most important points and repeat them in a friendly tone.
Finally, it is HR’s responsibility to dictate the solution to the problem, a solution that should always take into account the interests of both employees. When communicating it, it is essential to make sure that both parties understand the reason for the decision and that it is in the best interest of the company.
4. Communicate effectively
There is no point in solving a problem if no one knows it has been solved. While sometimes it is beneficial if no one knows about the situation, when it is a more generic issue it is important to communicate the final outcome to the people affected.
This means sending an email, posting information on the Intranet or even holding a face-to-face meeting. Every situation has ways of communicating that are more effective than others. Finding the most appropriate one for each situation is essential.
5. Measuring results
Of course, once you have determined the solution to a issue and communicated it to the people affected, you need to make sure that the situation is developing as planned. This may mean setting up regular meetings with those affected, conducting surveys, talking to managers….
In the event that the situation has not been successfully resolved, you should talk to those affected again to determine what is happening, and repeat the process from a fresh point of view.