HR Standards of Success
May 18, 2020
There are certainly multiple components that lead to the success of an organization, but it can be argued that effectively managing the human resources of a company is the most important determinant of that company’s long-term success. And the effective management of the HR function depends on more than just the HR department. Getting it right takes an active team approach that includes the HR department as well as supervisors and managers all the way up to the CEO. And just like on any successful team, members each have critical roles. It’s important to note that all of these functions are ongoing, interrelated and should be conducted in as near to “real-time” as possible.
Equilibrium: It's important to understand the need to maintain equilibrium between labor demand and supply. For Standard, this does not mean we start the hiring process right before we need staff. The HR department works directly with department managers and is fully integrated into our ongoing and upcoming work schedule to help determine future requirements for labor. It is based on proactive action, not reaction.
This internal communication allows planning months in advance (not days or weeks) for the human capital we will need to keep the promises we have made to our commercial clients. Promises that are more than just a completion date. Promises that can only be kept when every member of every project team has an understanding of Standard’s Core Values and has the experience that will be needed to effectively accomplish their role on that project team.
Standard’s HR department activities fit into the four stages of HR planning via the following:
- Situation Analysis
The two HR department representatives review the various responsibilities linked to the open position. Standard utilizes an Accountability Chart, which identifies all the roles of every position within the company. If the responsibilities for a position change, the Accountability Chart is updated.
- Human Resources Demand Forecasting
Standard’s work production is weather-dependent and, to an extent, seasonal. Most production takes place from April through October, with the months November through March being the “lighter” production months. It follows that demand forecasts are focused on increased demand in the late spring, summer and early fall time periods; however, recruiting efforts continue year-round.
- Analysis of the Supply of Human Resources
Construction training programs such as those conducted by Associated Builders and Contractors, the American Subcontractor Association and trade training programs conducted by high schools and community colleges are the primary resources available to Standard. Standard maintains constant contact with these resources.
- Plan Development
HR coordinates with the division managers, and supervisors help develop action plans. The managers and supervisors describe needs, and the HR department uses this information to develop a specific plan for filling an open position.
Recruitment: In order to effectively maintain equilibrium, the HR department at Standard Exterior Solutions continuously recruits on LinkedIn, through networking and various other efforts. The Human Resources department receives resumes from prospective employees, evaluates the resumes, conducts interviews with selected prospective employees and hires the best prospect for the open position; however, if a top performer from a peer company becomes available for hire, we will not hesitate to make the hire, regardless of the workload. Hiring strong performers is difficult, so any time one comes along, we hire first, then figure out where the performer can be most productive and place the person on the Accountability Chart.
One of the keys to successful recruitment (and retention) of human capital is promoting Standard’s wealth of benefits and better-than-market compensation. And over time, we have found that the most significant programs that Standard offers are providing each employee with their “Opportunity Vision”. This program outlines the advancement opportunities that suit each individual employee as well as steps to be taken and responsibilities for that employee to fulfill in order to advance in the organization.
Orientation: The HR department at Standard also ensures new employees are properly oriented. Orientation responsibilities include:
- job descriptions and requirements/specifications
- employee benefits
- organizational structure and goals
- resources available for professional development
- resources available for personal issues
- other information is given to new employees including employee handbook, safety program and compensation overview
Retention: Another critical component of HR responsibilities include duties related to employee retention. The HR team supports this function by providing input to department heads in considering promotions, transfers and changes in job classifications for existing employees. HR is also responsible for advising staff of job openings as well as for the dissemination of pertinent information via staff meetings and written and electronic notification (email).
Training: The HR department does not train new employees. Division managers, supervisors and “lead men” perform the training for field personnel. For administrative (office) positions, current employees form a “training team” to instruct new hires on their responsibilities. The new hires are also exposed to the Accountability Chart to identify responsibilities. Training is conducted over the first 90 days of employment, with additional/supplemental training every 6 months. Safety training for field employees, which includes health training and wellness, is conducted quarterly.
Guidelines: The Employment Manual lays out clear guidelines for employees to follow, including descriptions of disciplinary procedures.
Evaluations: Performance evaluations are conducted quarterly by field supervisors and division managers, with information on evaluations provided to HR. Our “Quarterly Performance Evaluation” program helps employees understand their strengths and weaknesses. These formalized evaluations have also proven to be the most effective means of dealing with and properly documenting disciplinary or adverse actions.
Core Values: Fostering better relationships between employees and management is primarily the responsibility of the CEO, who sets the example and stresses to the organization—employees and management—the importance of the company’s Core Values. All company programs have the Core Values as their foundation. Succession planning of all senior officers is also the role of the CEO.
At Standard, the CEO conducts a quarterly “State of the Company” address with all employees present. Commitment to transparency between management and employees has been the key to our success. Ongoing two-way communication between supervisors, managers and employees is the basis for continuous improvement. Having a central HR department is a great help to our organization. By coordinating with the various divisions on a regular basis, maintaining open and clear lines of conversation helps prevent misunderstandings and resolve errors. Succession planning for their own role as CEO and all senior officers is also the role of the CEO.
Standard’s willingness to evolve, as well as its commitment to employees’ health, safety, strong compensation and benefits has resulted in a long list of committed customers; which, in turn, has resulted in Standard’s successful history and paints a picture for a bright future.