A bunch of wooden blocks with images of people on them. They are connected by white lines, symbolising HR.
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HR is vital for high-performing teams – here’s why

1 Jun 2023

BrightHR’s Thea Watson examines the evolving world of HR and why a strong people operations team is needed for a thriving workplace.

Over the last decade, we’ve seen a lot of disruption in the world of work.

From the Covid-19 pandemic having a knock-on effect on flexible working, to recent worker strikes, rising business costs and talent shortages – it’s clear HR has had to evolve to keep up.

No longer does HR act simply as a basic function, but it has grown to become a long-term consideration for leaders when they’re developing retention, hiring, growth and business development strategies. According to a report from McKinsey, HR’s future role in work is as relevant to success as R&D, sales or production.

Why is HR the key to success?

On top of becoming a more strategic function, HR is still the basic and fundamental backbone of business.

It drives performance and benefits your workforce across multiple areas including central operations, culture, leadership, staff wellbeing and training.

And these benefits all start with better staff planning. Because without a way of managing staff holidays, absences and rotas, you won’t have as much time to focus on the things that matter to your business, like growth and performance.

With the right HR and employment law support and a proper HR structure in place, you’ll likely see a positive impact on your workplace culture. In fact, a recent study found that human-centric working environments (that resolve employee issues quickly) are almost four times more likely to exhibit high performance.

Staff who have their wellbeing, training and contractual working needs looked after are more likely to be happier and more productive. And with HR-compliant procedures and processes they can follow to raise concerns, you can build the foundation for a good working relationship based on mutual trust.

Plus, according to industry experts such as the European Association for People Management, having this high trust culture that is proven to deliver business results.

However, like anything when you’re busy or focused on other business areas, sometimes HR gets taken for granted.

High-performing teams don’t neglect their HR

It’s a common misconception that businesses can survive and grow effectively without HR. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Overlooking HR in your core business culture can ruin your reputation and hurt your chances when hiring.

In fact, most of the questions you’ll get from potential candidates in the interview stage will be around benefits, progression and company culture. These are all key things that are commonly handled by effective HR.

And without HR and proper employment law advice, your business could lose its top performers, waste valuable time trying to manage your own processes and face risky employee issues escalating to costly claims at an employment tribunal.

Another reason employers and business managers are put off from utilising their HR function is the outdated belief that HR only operates on Excel spreadsheets or exists in old databases. But again, an outdated understanding of the parameters of HR could be hurting your performance.

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The way HR has adapted to become more strategic and performance-driven in recent years is by leveraging the power of automation.

High-performing businesses and teams often run at a fast pace to match the market and stay competitive. And if you work at pace, the last thing you want to do is waste time on admin and slow people management processes. That’s where automated HR comes in.

Cloud-based software helps employers quickly calculate staff hours and overtime. It can also communicate this with employees in real-time instead of holiday and absence request systems that are reliant on email or limited-hour phone lines. These are all key areas where you could be losing valuable business hours.

Additionally, if your HR is sporadic or only focused on areas like recruitment and onboarding, you could be missing out on vital coverage of the entire employee lifecycle, meaning you’re only getting half the value of HR.

The role of HR in the future of businesses

As workforces across the globe navigate ongoing disruptions in the world, it’s inevitable that HR will always be the essential backbone of high-performing teams.

Human-centric working environments with a high-trust culture will always lead the way.

And despite being an age-old industry, HR continues to adapt to the changing world of work by disrupting the tech and automation space.

By Thea Watson

Thea Watson is the chief international growth and marketing officer at BrightHR. A version of this article was previously published on the BrightHR blog.

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