Keeping Human Resources human!

By: Fintan O'Toole

The annual appraisal is a cornerstone of performance management. Technology is taking over. It helps, but can it replace the human touch?

Remembering the small, everyday touchpoints can have a positive impact on businesses.

Increasingly technology plays an important part in every aspect of workforce management. Cloud based systems and the internet are commonly used for recruitment, storing employee records, psychometric assessments and succession planning amongst others .

Then there are the big set-piece HR events like the annual appraisal. But the ‘H’ in HR stands for human. Business owners and managers may be missing a trick if they lose the human touch with their employee relations.

There are a number of low-key, but highly effective, ways that businesses can use in managing a winning team. Many companies rely on an annual appraisal for managing performance in the workplace. That, coupled with some robust policies, covering everything from disciplinary procedure right through to social media usage, are the tried and tested methods of performance management.

They are all good practice. Along with documenting incidents and issues, they are essential in dealing with people problems if they escalate. Throw in good HR software, and you’re all set.

But don’t forget the softer approaches alongside these. The impact of small, everyday touchpoints can be immensely powerful. Little things like going out for lunch occasionally with staff and having informal catch-ups all have a positive impact in a workplace.

It shows the human side, and it also gives more opportunity to nip certain problems in the bud before they become more formal issues that need addressing.

Regular, informal conversation gives the opportunity to get a much better sense of an employee’s mood and feelings about their current role, and also allows them to bring up issues in their life that could be affecting their overall well-being and work performance.

The modern approaches are important. But they are even better - when you keep the ‘human’ in human resources!

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