The recruitment process should be flawless as this is the channel through which you are adding a valuable asset to your organization. In other words, a good recruitment process can help ensure that the right people are hired for the right job. Everything should be in proper order and coherent with the organization’s goals and mission. This is what every mentor in any professional HR strategy consulting class preaches. Planning and streamlining the hiring mechanism also results in a lower cost per hire. Secondly, when a company has a pool of high performers, it is better poised to create happy customers, generate more business, higher ROI, and escalated brand value. It is also important for any HR department to focus on minimizing attrition and recruitment plays a role here. If there’s a mismatch between the job (requirements) and the job holder (skills, attributes, etc.), such employees are not likely to continue for too long.
Bringing in new hires into the fold is always challenging. On-boarding is the time when an employee is formally made a part of a company after being hired and acquainted with his or her new work environment. The hiccups faced by companies in this activity are due to the lack of a defined process. There is often tons of paperwork involved which need not go linear. Then there is getting to know the relevant people and the teams. The recruits are bombarded with information, paperwork, and faces. You would not want your day one at work to be like that. There could be a better approach to this. It can start with a defined timeframe for completing the documentation or paperwork formalities (say on day one). On day two, the recruits could be introduced to their immediate reporting authorities or departmental colleagues. For self-help and self-reference of the recruits, the HR manual or the HR policy manual is also handy.
Training is a determining factor in employee performance. It imparts the necessary knowledge, skills and expertise required for a job or a project or an organization. It is also important for companies to look into that their employees are growing professionally. All the life coaches and top HR consultants iterate that one’s performance is determined by the training he or she underwent. In many big companies, there are hundreds of new hires that undergo training every year with multiple batches, different training programs, host of trainers, centre arrangements. Apart from that HR also needs to identify the trainees, coordinate with the in-house trainers or the training centres, prepare the training schedules, ensure necessary formalities are completed at every level, oversee the training programs, issue training completion certificates, and so on. Without SOPs, managing all these activities to complete a training cycle could be a herculean task. If all the required tasks are identified, logically sequenced, and defined with details, it will become easier for the HR team to carry out the training function systematically.
Performance Mapping & Annual Appraisals
Everyone gives in their best efforts and expects a good hike in salaries or even get a promotion at the end of the evaluation period. But how are these decisions made? If an employee did not find a performance appraisal report satisfactory, what answers would HR or reporting authority have? The answer is PMS consisting of KRAs, performance scorecards, KPIs, the methods of measuring performances, etc. A good PMS should be able to identify the excelling areas of performance as well as the areas of improvement. There should be no scope for subjectivity and bias in how performances are measured. SOPs can be more than instrumental in designing a PMS. There has to be a basic procedure to be followed in designing the KRAs and KPIs for each role irrespective of the difference in content. The organizational policies and principles pertaining to employee management also need to find a place here.
There is a notion that exit processes are bitter and employees leave companies disgruntled. Though this situation has not changed completely, companies are working towards making their exit processes as smooth and amiable as possible. The exit process should not be overlooked as it gives the HR insight into the underlying problems of working in the company. Generally, any employee who is leaving the organization will provide honest feedback on the glitches he/she faced. If the feedback is constructive, then future attrition can be reduced. The offboarding process could also reveal if any poaching is taking place. From company to company, the exit formalities may vary. But it is better to have a well-documented exit process. Standard Operating Procedures are important here because there are several activities involved which need to be executed in order while adhering to company policies. There are often multiple departments involved and the entire exit process needs to be mapped passing from one department to another.
The HR Manual or the workplace policies and procedures manual is a must for every organization. It contains the policies, procedures, practices, rules and regulations, code of conduct, criteria, etc. governing employees’ conduct as a member of an organization. It serves as a ready-reference book for the employees to adhere to their employers’ established systems. It is a big time-saver for every HR department. An HR Manual can have a wide range of information covering hierarchies and structure, workplace policies, training, and development programs, leave policies, benefits, exit policies, anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, IT policies, etc. It would be much easier for everyone in an organization if the actionable policies are expressed in terms of SOP.
Payroll can be a complicated and bulky task for HR of any company. With an increasing number of employees, the task gets more complex. On top of that, non-adherence to statutory laws can attract consequences. Today, the payroll process can be automated to a large extent. But even an automated system needs to be customized according to a company’s planning, policies, and practices covering approvals, calculations and disbursement. The payroll process can be defined in detail using SOPs. Starting from the trigger (which usually is a date) to salaries being disbursed going through inputs, approvals, and calculations can be mapped in a step-by-step sequence using SOPs.
Policies and procedures pertaining to employee expense management are important for settling bills. Bills often create rifts in company-employee relations. There could be issues on the authenticity of bills, sometimes even on the morality of expenditure made, delays in submitting bills for reimbursement, delayed reimbursements and so on. These differences are not healthy in any work culture. Therefore, the policies and procedures governing expense management must be unambiguous. With the on-going pandemic, businesses need to be more prudent with their overhead expenses. Automated expense management tools help in demarcating reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses, reduce fraudulent claims, help in audits while ensuring the capping limit on travel expenditure – like hotels, per diem, etc. By having wide and well-defined policies and procedures, companies can have a smooth and fair expense management system in place leading to more transparency, less subjectivity and bias, timely reimbursements, and better focus on work for all.
We emphasise that if businesses have to become truly process-driven in a competitive sense they must not only incorporate SOPs but also ride on digital processes. We go beyond designing SOPs in pen and paper and seek to achieve SOP-ERP/HRM integration. With SOP design as one of our flagship services, our experience tells us to make procedures look simpler in practice and implementation. Easy-to-use HR SOP templates shall be defined to ensure that being process-driven is not an uphill task for the HR department of any business enterprise.
Chief Growth Officer
Nikhil is a calm and composed individual who has a master’s degree in international business and finance from the United Kingdom. Nikhil Agarwal has worked with 300+ companies from various sectors, since 2012, to custom-build SOPs and achieve operational excellence. Nikhil & his team have remarkable success stories of helping companies scale 10X with business process standardization.