6 Signs Your HR Processes are in Need of a Makeover

Life is complicated enough without the addition of workplace stress. Sadly, much of our professional headache is due to the necessary evil of process and the square box routines we fit ourselves into. And in HR, we’re notorious for process overload.

Not All Processes Are Created Equal

Organizations need process to be successful, organized and keep their ship afloat. However, it’s also one of the most common business problems we face. Too little, and havoc surrounds us, while too much emphasis on procedure kills our productivity. The key is ensuring that each component of our processes add value.

Take the movie Office Space and the infamous TPS report as an example. This practice didn’t just kill the employees output it also destroyed their morale.
Have we, HR, become so strict about following process, protocol and best practices that our real work has slowed down to a diminished level and innovation has come to a screeching halt? Have we become Bill Lumbergh?

6 Signs Your HR Processes Need a Makeover

  1. Your teams sit in silos and have no clue who to go to for help or better yet, are forced to play the childhood game of telephone for answers vs. going directly to the source.
  2. Employees are required to work in multiple applications to perform the same task. This problem goes way beyond a lack of integrations and well into the scary area of tools and software implemented that add zero value.
  3. You’re having official meetings for basic tasks that end with more questions than solutions.
  4. Simple forms have grown into mountains of paperwork that resemble a 10th grade reading list.
  5. Every step of a process is considered “critical”.
  6. You have a manager (AKA compliance officer) who oversees and invents new steps, reporting vanity metrics to make the organization feel good even though they don’t depict any real improvement.

Any of these sound familiar? If so, it is time to stop checking procedure boxes and step away from the protocols that have become more of an obstacle than a productive means to efficiency.

OMG, Now What?

Start by throwing the idea of perfection out the window and remember that it is much easier to create a process from scratch than to undo one that feels comfortable. Recognize that fear is a real emotion that goes along with change but in order to be better you might have to trim away at the fat.

  1. Dissect each step. Ask “Why?” over and over again, removing those that don’t add value.
  2. Be flexible. Allow your team to deviate from the course when a unique situation presents itself.
  3. Keep it simple stupid. A process won’t be understood, and less likely to be followed if it can’t be explained to a middle schooler.
  4. Define, measure, refine and repeat. Value is everything and if no benefits are seen in 3-6 months it’s time to change it up.
  5. Introduce changes slowly and one at a time. Too many modifications at once and how will you know which had the desired effect?
  6. Communication and agreement is key. All stakeholders, regardless of where they stand on the corporate ladder should be involved.

Change is what keeps the world moving forward. Stagnate contentment is just that…being okay with subpar, only to avoid hurdles or challenges that may arise. We’re better than that, so let’s do better.

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Bridget Webb

Bridget Webb is a Recruitment and Marketing enthusiast, leader, advisor and speaker. Her specialties include Demand Generation (customers & talent), People Analytics, Employer Branding, HR Technology and homeroom mom duties. With over a decade in the talent acquisition space both as a practitioner and marketing/business development executive Bridget has built a reputation as a trusted thought leader whose creative problem solving and relentless character have grown brands, bottom-lines and talent pipelines. Connect with Bridget.

Reader Interactions


  1. George A. says

    Sure, it makes sense… Just one thing to comment. Have you ever noticed that there are people who love to make things simple versus (because it often gets into the versus level, after all) people who like things a little more complicated? What do you think? Should someone consider placing a little bit of each in the new processes to please both sides? What if the decision-maker (a boss or a manager) tends to like things in the complex way?

    Just a few things which come to my mind now. =)


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