Are You Getting Your HR House in Order for 2013?

Posted in : HR Updates on 14 January 2013
Angela Schettino
Think People Consulting
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Angela Schettino writes:

A great way to start the new year is to take the opportunity to ‘get your HR house in order’, so to speak.

We are already in mid January and often the focus is very much about the immediate task of running the business, particularly if you are working within a small or medium sized organisation. Some of us have returned to the office in a slight state of shock after the Christmas period and are now totally focusing on the long list which quickly builds up after a period away.

The more strategic SMEs will have developed a strategy and business plan, but have you considered the HR strategy which will be crucial in helping deliver that?

We provide some food for thought below, on the kinds of things which HR practitioners might consider at this point in what we all hope will be a more economically buoyant year for all. We can only hope!

Things to consider: Based upon the business or organisational strategy for the coming three years consider;

1. Strategic Planning - HR Strategy 2013

It is helpful to pull together a document for your HR strategy, with key actions and accountabilities. The HR Strategy document can then be reviewed at regular intervals. This may sound like obvious advice, but many organisations still don’t formalise it this was and find they lose focus and miss key opportunities.

  • Skills and Capability - What will be your skills and capability requirements? How then does this impact the Learning and Development focus for your current employees and the focus for the Recruitment and Induction plan for the new year?
  • Performance management - Review the impact of your performance management system. Can this be updated or revised this year to improve the value of the measures in place and the impact of the discussions about performance both for individuals and teams?
  • Reward - In light of what is to come, are there elements of your pay and reward strategy which need attention, e.g. are you able to attract the skills you need and retain the people that will be crucial in delivering the business / organisational plan?
  • Succession planning - Formalise your approach to considering careers and succession plans. Ensure employees have clear sight of how they might progress their careers with you.
  • Efficiencies and rationalisation - As always it is important to continuously look at the potential for further efficiencies and considering how this might affect the wider business or operation. Consider resources, contracts and work patterns.
  • Communication and Engagement - often an afterthought. Communication and Engagement strategy should be high on the agenda for 2013. Do you have a forum for understanding how well are you communicating and engaging? What is the communication and engagement plan for the coming year?

2. HR - Lessons learnt from 2012

January is the best time to review the impact HR initiatives have been having. Many HR teams are not yet seeking feedback, although this is crucial in developing better solutions for your organisation.

  • Have you sought feedback from your business partners and service users about how well HR performed last year? If not, ensure you provide a forum or system for collecting and reviewing service levels. Look at the feedback and act on it!
  • What went really well in term of HR management in 2012? How can we build on that in 2013?
  • Consider as individuals with the HR team (if there is an HR function!) what were personal lessons and how these might be addressed in 2013.
  • What did not go well and why not? What action can we take to improve in 2013?
  • Look at the internal employment relations trends, e.g. Discipline and Grievance patterns - were there any lesson coming from those and how can we address them?
  • Employee retention - Was there a pattern linked to the loss of capable employees last year? Are there points that can be addressed this year and included within the HR strategy?

3. Legislation / Policies and Procedures

  • Review the legislative changes for 2011/2012 and what is coming up in 2013. Legal-Island is obviously a great source for this information! Some examples include the new Additional Paternity Leave, changes to the Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance and the removal of the Default Retirement Age.
  • Plan in a thorough policy review ensuring you consider changes which are upcoming. Think about difficulties which have been experienced, e.g. how to deal fairly with Norovirus absence.
  • If you haven’t already, make sure your plan is in place for dealing with the impact of Pension reform.
  • Administration and Personnel file review - We all put this one at the bottom of the list, but if you haven’t done your review of files in a while, ensure it is planned in and that you follow Data Protection guidance on how long to hold on to files, what to hold on to and how to dispose of files. Look at admin practice in general for how this can be improved or streamlined.

4. Communication!!

Start the year, the way you intend to end it, with positive messages about performance! Make sure that employees are provided with clear direction about the strategy for the upcoming year. Reflect the ‘personality’ of your organisation when you communicate. Talk about the new journey that is ahead and what employees can expect to see happening. Follow this up with regular updates in the forums which suit the style and culture of your operation.

So, there you have it, a little food for thought to start the year. Let’s get the party re-started!

This article is correct at 04/11/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Angela Schettino
Think People Consulting

The main content of this article was provided by Angela Schettino. Contact telephone number is 028 9031 0450 or email

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