It’s no secret that HR professionals are busier now than ever before. Gone are the days of being the “hiring and firing” department – you’re now likely responsible for recruitment, retention, engagement, culture, training, administration and strategy – as well as anything else that hits your desk.
HR professionals are feeling stretched – despite the extra responsibilities, the median number of employees per HR staff member remains steady at 74 in 2015, down from 90 in 2010.
Instead, we’re covering a few less obvious “quick wins” that can make a real difference to your work week.
1.) Set Boundaries And “Open Door” Times
Music too loud in the office? Employees lacking direction? Clarity required over the company drinking policy?
We’ve all been there. And whilst these queries aren’t a bad thing in themselves (conversely, it’s a good thing if you’re able to help!) – they can run a train through your productivity. If you’ve ever felt like you got more done in an hour than in 5 hours, there’s good reason.
A recent UC Irvine study showed that people spend an average of 11 minutes on a project before interruption… and it takes 25 minutes to get back to the pre-interruption point.
We’re not suggesting you block off all communication, hide away in a corner of refuse to answer requests – but politely asking employees to make use of your “open door” times can be a lifesaver for productivity.
If you want to solidify this approach, Google Calendars has a handy feature that lets you add appointment times to your day.
Time saved: 3-4 hours per week.
2.) Cut Down On Unnecessary Meetings
HR professionals spend around 18% of their time – or 7 hours per week – in meetings. Even if you assume 50% of your meetings are genuinely useful and productive (which we’d wager is a stretch!) – that’s half a day of productivity each week wasted.
The start of this journey is recognising that your time is precious. Your time is the only resource you have, and other people do not have the right to waste it. The hour you spent politely listening to office politics in a glass room could have been spent creating a strategy that impacts the whole business. By stopping to realise the value of your time, you’ll start to take a more suspicious view of meetings.
For every meeting request you get, ask yourself: “Do I really need to be in this meeting?”. If the answer is “no”, simply reply politely observing that you won’t be able to bring extra value. If you must go, ask “Can this meeting be done in half the time?”. You’ll be surprised how often the answer is “Yes”.
Finally, consider blocking out 2 hours of your calendar each morning for a “meeting free morning”. Perhaps you’ll upgrade to “Meeting free Wednesdays” before long – and perhaps, some people will follow.
Meetings are almost an inevitability of corporate culture – but that doesn’t mean you can’t change your organisational culture. Instead of just making these changes for yourself, why not implement them across the organisation?
Time saved: 2-3 hours per week
3.) Streamline And Outsource Recruitment Where Possible
On average, recruitment and interviewing takes up 26% of an HR professional’s time, or about 10 hours per week. Whilst it may not be practical to ship out the whole process, the fact alone this activity makes up over a quarter of your time should place it firmly in your sights for streamlining.
You can all but eliminate job boards by using services like Hired or even bring recruitment in-house with services like Talentful. Even if you don’t fully outsource the process, a good recruitment agency should eliminate the need for writing job descriptions, scouring LinkedIn and even screening calls.
Time saved: 4-5 hours per week
4.) Re-distribute Responsibilities Across The Company
HR departments tend to pile up on jobs that aren’t strictly human resources related – simply because they’re somehow linked to the hiring process, or worse yet – because they’re related to “humans” in general.
Ask yourself: Should you really be involved in ordering new IT equipment when a new hire joins, or should this be done by IT?
Are expenses really an HR-related function, or is it time these are submitted directly to Finance for review?
Are you still ordering office snacks, when it could be taken care by a specialist like Snacknation?
Is it your job to carry out a face-to-face interview on each candidate that comes in, or could this be achieved with a phone screen? Do you really need to top-and-tail the interview process, or could this be lead by heads of department?
Challenge everything – every company is different, but the common thread is that HR get left with more responsibility than is strictly necessary.
Time saved: 2-3 hours per week
5.) Take Control Of Learning & Development Expenses
Running a learning & development (L&D) programme is a great way to boost employee engagement, create a culture of curiosity and retain the best employees – so fits squarely into the responsibility of a good HR department.
But L&D “done manually” takes out a huge chunk of time – whether it’s dealing with unwieldy spreadsheets or expense forms. Perhaps you even place orders for books and online courses yourself – whilst fending off questions like “does this book count as educational?”.
We’ll admit we’re biased, but a platform like Learnli takes care of all of this for you – just define your rules, add your team and hit approve when you get an expense request. The system takes care of all the admin and budgeting, even placing the order for you.
What are your best time-saving tips? Let us know in the comments!