How to Spring Clean Your HR and L&D Practice

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With the clocks having finally sprung forward, we’ll start to find that the days become noticeably longer as spring… well, springs into action.

You only have to look outside to see how the changing of the seasons can provide the impetus to help us tidy up our lives, with birds starting to build nests and your neighbours starting to mow their lawns.

Spring can be a great time of year to tidy up your Human Resources and Learning & Development practice too, getting it ready for everything that the future year holds.

In this blog, we’ll be exploring how you can update your HR and L&D practice this spring and how you can get your processes and policies into shape.

1.   Check that your policies and procedures are up to date

It makes sense to check all of the policies and procedures that you use the most in your practice – after all, you’ve been using them all year and you’ll be acutely aware of what things work well about them and which things don’t.

There aren’t many other times of the year when you’ll get a chance to review and refresh documents like this. Plus, there aren’t many other times of the year when you might have the motivation to do so.

The most important procedures to check are accurate include:

  • Recruitment policies
  • Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) policies
  • Grievance, disciplinary and harassment policies and procedures
  • Redundancy procedures and processes
  • Employee handbook
  • Health and Safety policies
  • Leave procedures and policies
  • Any relevant workplace-specific policies

2.   Dust off your employee data

Your HR practice is only as good as the data that you have to work with. If your databases are stuffed with out of date, irrelevant data, the quality of your work as a department will suffer overall.

Whilst there might be a saying that a bad worker blames their tools, in the case of HR, there’s an exception – accurate data is essential to your practice and without it, you won’t be able to do your job properly. In some cases, you could even be putting your organisation at risk of falling foul of the law by failing to keep records up to date.

Refreshing, reviewing and tidying the digital record-keeping procedures of your organisation a few times a year is a good habit to get into. Many HR professionals consider it part of best practice.

Before the advent of computers, checking employee data would have meant cracking open countless filing cabinets and wading through dusty volumes of physical files. Luckily, with the advent of computers and digital record-keeping the process is a bit simpler now – an awful lot less dusty. Here are some of the key elements of employee data to check:

  • Review employee data and check that details like name, address and emergency contact are correct
  • Ensure records for any active or past grievance, disciplinary and redundancy processes are up to date
  • Check the employment status of employees (ie. whether their contract is full time, part time, permanent, temporary etc. is correct and up to date)
  • Check that employee appraisal and performance review information is up to date
  • Double check the security of your data and ensure that relevant protections are in place

A group of people gathered around a laptop

3.   Examine your recruitment and retention processes

Recruitment forms an important aspect of the responsibilities of a HR department. The process is one of the key duties of HR and it’s incredibly complex and resource-hungry.

The fact that recruitment processes are generally carried out under extreme pressure and tight deadlines means that you can find it hard to find the time to update policies and improve them over the course of the year. Right now, in springtime, before the year starts to gather momentum and before things start to get busier, is a useful time to review your recruitment processes and tweak them, if needed.

Now is a great time to show your retention policy some love too. Retention, in particular, is crucial to the long-term health of a company but can often fall by the wayside, getting forgotten in favour of more immediate concerns.

Here are some elements to review when it comes to your recruitment and retention practice:

  • Update job descriptions and salary ranges
  • Ensure that employee benefits are up to date
  • Make sure that onboarding processes
  • Review employee induction materials and processes
  • Check that contracts are accurate

4.   Clean your workspace

If you work in a large workplace, it’s likely that your organisation already uses a cleaning service to keep your office tidy.

Still, it’s good to get in the habit of doing some additional cleaning every so often to help your office cleaner out – and spring is a great time to do that.

  • Give everything a good dust
  • Get rid of any unwanted clutter on your desk
  • Check that your working set-up is ergonomic
  • Ensure that you have everything you need to do your job, like pens, paper etc.

As well as potentially improving your health by reducing the build up of dust and germs, studies suggest that having a clean, clutter-free working environment can help to boost your mood and your productivity. Research by psychology professor Sabine Kastner over the last 20 years has suggested that clutter can have a direct impact on the performance of your brain, making it tire more easily over time.

A professional working at a laptop

5.   Explore how your training and development processes can be improved

Unfortunately, for a lot of organisations that are strapped for time, money and resources, training and development can often be an afterthought – particularly if there’s not a focused L&D department to fight its corner. As a result, it can often get forgotten about.

Learning and Development is crucial to the long-term health of an organisation, helping improve everything from employee productivity and efficiency through to retention, recruitment and company culture. Ignore it at your peril. (If you need to convince your board of directors of the importance of L&D, this article by Indeed explores some of the key benefits that training and development can have in a workplace)

When you’re spring cleaning your practice, you should devote a good degree of your efforts to examining how well your current learning and development processes are going and what things can be improved about them. Some useful areas to look at include:

  • Examining the current training and development programmes that your organisation has in place
  • Exploring the performance of these programmes, looking at metrics like completion rates etc. to gauge how effective they are
  • Lookin at current rates of employee satisfaction and the results of any previous satisfaction surveys

6.   Performance management

Whilst we’ve covered performance management in a previous point, it definitely deserves a dedicated section all of its own. Performance management is one of those areas of HR that can’t be ignored.

As the department that acts as the one of the primary connections between senior management and employees, HR can find that they’re often called upon to ensure that employees are aware of key objectives and focuses.

In particular, performance management – monitoring, reviewing and improving the performance of employees – forms a key focus of many HR departments. As a result, it can make sense to whip your performance management process into shape to ensure that it’s fit to cope with the demands of the coming year.

  • Familarise yourself with any upcoming announcements you may have to make to the wider company
  • Examine your performance review process so that you can ensure that employees and line-managers are aware of the latest organisational targets, concerns and focuses
  • Ensure that employee performance review data is up to date
  • Explore ways that your employee performance reviews can be improved

Tidy your way into success at work

Whilst it can seem a massive pain at the time, taking the time to pay attention to those often-neglected areas of your practice and tidying them up can set you up for a greater chance of success in the long-term. We hope this blog has given you some areas to potentially target when it comes to spring cleaning your HR and L&D practice this year. Best of luck!

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