A Fresh Pair of Eyes at Search Laboratory: Reviewing People Processes

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The people at Search Laboratory are our defining asset. Without them we would not have achieved the incredible growth and success we have. It stands to good reason that we need to look after these people.

If we only delivered the basics for our team, we could not expect them to deliver more than the basics for our customers. Delivering the basics is not what Search Laboratory do. The correlation is simple: exceeding colleague expectations will lead to a happy and engaged workforce. This in-turn means happy and satisfied customers!

Our team voted with their mouse mats, placing us 10th in the UK in the Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work For 2012. So we must be doing something right! Team spirit, employee wellbeing and leadership were all scored highly in the survey. Weekly knowledge sharing sessions, culture days, regular team socials and management visibility all played a part in helping Search Laboratory achieve one of the top ten positions.

But we dont want to stop there. We must push ourselves to continuously improve; after all;

"Standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world" 

[Lauren Bacall]

Search Laboratory's mission is it to be recognised as the best search engine marketing agency in the UK. To do this we need to continue to recruit, retain and nurture the best people in our industry.

Recently appointed as Search Laboratory's new HR Manager, I have therefore been analysing our people processes to see where improvements can be made. I thought I would share my methodology so others can consider using these techniques to help optimise their internal people processes.

A HR audit - Is this something we should do?

Yes! This should be done at least once a year. Reviewing how you handle human resources will help you to identify gaps in your people processes. Good people processes will lead to happy, motivated employees who will want do a good job for you.

What are the benefits?

- Ensures effective use of your HR departments resources
- It will enable you to make a difference where it matters
- It provides an opportunity to review legal and administrative compliance
- It will instil a sense of confidence in management and the Human Resources function

How do I do it?

Use this simple template to take of stock of where you are and see where your shortfalls are.

Recruitment Is there a full set of up to date job descriptions?

Is there a process for reviewing job descriptions?

Are internal positions offered to current employees?

Are candidate references checked?

Are application forms / adverts legally compliant?

Is proof of eligibility to work in the UK requested at interview?

Do candidates always receive a response to their application?

Are recruitment costs being tracked?

Are recruitment practices non-discriminatory?

Are feedback notes recorded?

Are Managers trained in conducting effective interviews?

Induction Do candidates receive a warm and professional welcome pack?

Are the contracts reflective of working practices?

Are the employment policies relevant to the workplace?

Is there a detailed induction plan for every role?

Are employees / managers trained on Company policies?

Learning & Development Is there a formal annual review process in place?

Do regular reviews take place outside of this?

Are Performance Development Plans in place?

Have skill gaps been identified and addressed?

Are training evaluation mechanisms in place?

Are there opportunities to learn and grow?

Are there opportunities to share best practice?

Reward & Retention What benefits do we offer?

How are employees informed about these benefits?

Is performance linked to reward?

Are there mechanisms for colleagues to feed back how they feel about work?

Do you regularly review pay and benefits?

Employee Relations Are personnel files kept up to date?

Are all employees trained on discrimination and harassment issues?

Are employment policies communicated and enforced?

Do you have process for lodging grievances?

Employee Exit Do exit interviews always take place?

Are action plans put into place as a result?

Are regular one to ones taking place to identify problems early?

Are turnover rates recorded?

Strategy Is your HR Strategy aligned with your Company strategy?

Is the Learning and Development Strategy aligned with the Company strategy?

Do you have a clear Mission statement?

Do colleagues understand what the Company values are?

Are the values "lived and breathed"?

Do you regularly review the organisational structure?