Best practices in the field of HR


Vani Venugopal
AMC Engineering College


Why are employees in some companies happy to stick with the company while others look for a change? The reason is that some companies know how to take good care of their employees and provide a working environment that helps them retain their identity, while proving themselves and growing along with the company.

A best practice is a technique, method, process, activity, incentive, or reward which conventional wisdom regards as more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, etc. when applied to a particular condition or circumstance. The idea is that with proper processes, checks, and testing, a desired outcome can be delivered with fewer problems and unforeseen complications. Best practices can also be defined as the most efficient (least amount of effort) and effective (best results) way of accomplishing a task, based on repeatable procedures that have proven themselves over time for large numbers of people.

A given best practice is only applicable to particular condition or circumstance and may have to be modified or adapted for similar circumstances. In addition, a "best" practice can evolve to become better as improvements are discovered.

The notion of best practice - sometimes called 'high commitment' HRM - proposes that the adoption of certain best practices in HRM will result in better organisational performance. Perhaps the most popular work in this area is that of Pfeffer  who argued that there were seven best practices for achieving competitive advantage through people and 'building profits by putting people first'. These practices included: providing employment security, selective hiring, extensive training, sharing information, self-managed teams, high pay based on company performance and the reduction of status differentials. However, there is a huge number of studies which provide evidence of best practices, usually implemented in coherent bundles, and therefore it is difficult to draw generalised conclusions about which is the 'best' way

Best HR Practices

Here are some of the best HR practices that help in the creation of a highly satisfied and motivated work force.

1. Safe, Healthy And Happy Workplace
2. Open Book Management Style
3. Performance Linked Bonuses
4. 360-Degree Performance Management Feedback System
5. Fair Evaluation System For Employees
6. Knowledge Sharing
7. Highlight Performers
8. Open House Discussions And Feedback Mechanisms
9. Reward Ceremonies
10. Delight Employees With The Unexpected

1. Safe, Healthy and Happy Workplace

Creating a safe, healthy and happy workplace will ensure that your employees feel homely and stay with your organization for a very long time. Capture their pulse through employee surveys.

2. Open Book Management Style

Sharing information about contracts, sales, new clients, management objectives, company policies, employee personal data etc. ensures that the employees are as enthusiastic about the business as the management. Through this open book process you can gradually create a culture of participative management and ignite the creative endeavor of your work force. It involves making people an interested party to your strategic decisions, thus aligning them to your business objectives. Be as open as you can. It helps in building trust & motivates employees. Employee self service portal, Manager on-line etc. are the tools available today to the management to practice this style.

3. Performance linked Bonuses

Paying out bonuses or having any kind of variable compensation plan can be both an incentive and disillusionment, based on how it is administered and communicated. Bonus must be designed in such a way that people understand that there is no payout unless the company hits a certain level of profitability. Additional criteria could be the team's success and the individual's performance. Never pay out bonus without measuring performance, unless it is a statutory obligation.

4. Incentives

From project completion lunches to holiday sponsorship, companies around the world dole out several innovative incentives to employees, on a bid to retain them.

* Cash Bonus: Be  it in IT firm or Non IT firm, cash bonuses based on performance has always been a favourite among employees and employers alike. The satisfaction that comes from being recognized as an important and valued associate is an extremely powerful Motivator for employee.

* ESOP:A similar bonus is the Employee stock option plans. ESOPs enable workers to earn a retirement nest engg, which will grow as the company's business prospers. This also allowed employees to help the company succeed. An ESOP can also be a great deal for the owner of the business

* Project completion Lunch- This another popular incentive the employees look forward to. Today project completion lunches have become the norm in most mid tier and top IT firms Having a lunch together with the team will enhance the team rapport, refresh them, will get the team to be cohesive and will reduce the personal clashes within them.

* Joining Bonus-This is a great Incentives that works well in employing the right candidate in a short amount of time. It allows an employer in attracting and retaining a talent that is critical for niche arrears of technology, and hence not losing out to rival firms. The bonus depends on the size of the firm, can range bonuses on special occasions. for instances, On the occasion of the silver jubilee of Infosys,the IT Giant offered a princely sum of Rs.126 Crores to be distributed among its 58000 employees.

* Tax saving Incentives-tax saving incentives that include food coupons,HRA(Health Reimbursement account),transportation allowance are some of most popular and sought after incentives.Additionally,companies allow employees to reimburse their children's education bill and telephone bills, which are non taxable and hence allows maximum savings. This becomes a big boost for an employee to join a company.

* Corporate discounts-Company products and services offered at a discount to staff or negotiated corporate discounts with certain retailers, recreational facilities or hotels /airlines. Today employees around the world can benefit from substantial discounts at nearly all the top retailers, when purchasing holidays, household appliances or every day items like CDs or magazines, whether it is online, over the phone or in store.

* Rewards and recognition-One of the most valued of all employees incentives includes the peer programs, or in the other words awarding performance through recognition. In 2008, one of India's Top IT Firms, Infosys doled out Ipods and Xbox players to its Top Performers as an incentive.

* Point system: Point system - This especially for hourly employees, who can be offered a point system that is tied to prizes. This re-energizes the first tier employees and creates a more competitive working environment. For workers on salary, several companies offer large prizes based on a 'points lottery' or simply allow for extra days off or an extra 15 minute break or two.

Performance Management Feedback System

* 360 Degree Appraisal: This system, which solicits feedback from seniors (including the boss), peers and subordinates, has been increasingly embraced as the best of all available methods for collecting performance feedback. Gone are the days of working hard to impress only one person, now the opinions of all matter, especially if you are in a leadership role (at any level). Every person in the team is responsible for giving relevant, positive and constructive feedback. Such systems also help in identifying leaders for higher level positions in the organization. Senior managers could use this feed back for self development

* 720 degree Appraisal: It is performing a feedback after the main 360 degree appraisal. Many management experts feel that doing a comprehensive 360 degree appraisal is not complete in itself. They feel that an effective procedure to measure improvements and receive feed back is essential for the success of any appraisal. This gives a pre and post intervention result. The pre- intervention result sets the base line, the development intervention is then done to improve the participant's behaviors (e.g. training, coaching).The post intervention survey then shows the amount of improvement in the results.

720 degree as the name suggests is 360 degree twice-doing the appraisal once, where the performance of the employee is analyzed and having a good feedback mechanism where the boss sits down with the employee another time and gives him feedback and tips on achieving the targets set. Too often, employees complain that they never receive feedback until the next performance appraisal. They say that, by then it is too late.720 degree appraisal seeks to address theses concerns by giving the employees feedback on their performance and helps to attain goals set for them.

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Source: E-mail December 7, 2010


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