I know as HR people we don’t typically recommend this in a workplace setting, but it’s time to get personal. At least when it comes to focusing on and understanding our own needs, that is.

As I described in my first blog in this series, which introduced the PARTS framework, the P in PARTS focuses on the personal aspect of HR, and it starts with you, the practitioner. The nature of HR is such that we spend most of our days meeting the needs of others in the workplace, oftentimes not focusing on our own needs first.

I’m not saying that HR should be selfish…but then again, maybe I am.

Hear me out. Your workforce knows what’s important to them. But do you, the HR professional, know what’s important to you at work? Maybe it’s time for a shift in mindset of sorts.

Thoughtful HR professional getting personal thinking of your needs concept

Look inward to make outward HR impacts

In order to positively impact the workplace and the lives of the employees, it is vital that HR professionals themselves have what they need to get the job done.

Take some time to reflect on the current state of things no matter what your role is in your organization. How much time are you spending on transactional business processes? Generally, HR has been seen as more transactional because it’s easy to fall into the trap of simply triaging and addressing any and all employer and employee wants and needs that come up, leaving minimal time for strategic priorities.

A personal example

For many years as a practitioner, my job was mostly transactional. I handled things like paper-based benefits administration, revising and publishing workplace policies—also on paper, and filing physical copies of employee documents. For discipline issues, I printed emails and filed them as documentation. Seeing a theme here? The point is I was drowning in paper, and my “to be filed” bin was always full. Furthermore, I was not doing my part to help the environment thanks to these kinds of outdated, wasteful practices.

I also handled process-oriented matters that are generally seen as transactional activities. From recruitment and onboarding new employees to processing terminations and handling unemployment and workers compensation claims, I did it all, right down to always being there to fix the copier and reset passwords. By the way, all this should be driving home why any HR technology you use should have a solid employee self-service approach. The administrative workload becomes absolutely huge otherwise.

Employee relations issues were also always on my plate, and at times it seemed they were constant. Employees who couldn’t get along with other coworkers or managers, or even employees at executive levels were looking for me, the HR leader, to be a mediator for stressful conversations. The stress of the “he said, she said” situations sometimes got to me. I would have employees come to my office almost daily to “tattle” on coworkers. As much as I would have liked to focus on strategic HR issues, the reality of my everyday situation was that it wasn’t always feasible to do so. That’s why it is so important that the tools you have serve you, and don’t add to your stress.

Find the moments that matter to you

Just as there are so many moments that matter for employees, there are many moments that matter for HR professionals as well. Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks are multifaceted and take time and energy away from focusing on strategy. It’s not easy to keep an innovative business mindset when day-to-day tasks are so cumbersome.

HR is constantly expected to transform and make improvements to the employee experience, cultivate the company culture, and promote the company brand—all while recruiting, hiring, and retaining a productive and engaged workforce. It’s a lot to manage and can seem overwhelming at times! I know because I’ve been there. I also know the cost of doing nothing is just as if not more detrimental to the business, so taking action is the way to go.

But all that said, back to you, the personal piece of PARTS.

How to bring your HR needs into your day-to-day

Proper HCM technology implementation is key in each piece of the PARTS framework, but it’s among the most important elements for this first personal section of the acronym. Without the right tools providing efficient and effective processes, the other pieces to PARTS will not fit.

So, do you truly have what you need to do your job in the most productive way? It’s time to take inventory to ensure you do.

ACA compliance, HIPAA regulations, employee relations issues, onboarding, terminations, recruitment, retirement, skills shortages—all the moments that matter for employees are things that keep you up at night because they are complex and oftentimes difficult to navigate. Furthermore, the confidentiality aspect of the HR profession can also be a burden. This is true whether you're an HR department of one or you work for a large company with several HR employees.

Consider asking yourself some questions to determine if you have all you need to ensure your stress levels stay as low as possible as a human resources professional working during a time of disruption and  change:

  • Do you ask decision makers for what you need in terms of HR technology?
  • Are you investigating the right solutions to help you manage your people more efficiently?
  • Are you often disrupted during the day by tactical tasks you know could be streamlined?
  • Do your employees have easy-to-use mobile and self-service options for completing key HR tasks and seeing information that matters to them?
  • Are there any paper processes you think you could eliminate with the right technology?
  • What administrative tasks would need to be off your plate for you to focus more on HR strategy?

Conclusion: By focusing on yourself, you can make things better for your employees

As you think about the mountains of HR tasks you have to get through each day, it's important to remember you're not alone. There are resources and solutions out there to help you, take care of you, take stress away, and boost your productivity. Consider this your call to action to be good to yourself simply by asking for what it is you need to do your job better, taking some time off, unplugging, or doing whatever it is to find your HR happy place where the PARTS start to fit nicely. And if you need some help doing that, we've got you covered.

Get the PARTS you need to succeed in HR

Published: Tuesday, March 17, 2020