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  • Mark Shaw

Applying the KISS Principle to HR Processes

In a 2010 text titled Managing Performance Improvement by Tovey, Uren and Sheldon, an analysis-appraisal flowchart is provided to assist managers assess individual performance. It contains 29 decision points, including five that force the manager to start the process again.

Yet, many HR processes used today are equally complex for managers to use, for records to be maintained, and for reporting to be collated.

For over 20 years I have been reversing this trend.

My journey started with understanding that replicating the paper-based form onto a computer screen still resulted in the complexity I was trying to reverse. I also realised that creating a policy and procedure is only the start. We also need to collect data, and report on the compliance, success and/or trends once the policy is in use.

With this clarity, I now work backwards.

I start by asking what data do I need to report on the level of compliance achieved, success and/or trends for the policy? Then I identify the simplest, most user-friendly way I can identify for managers and employees to capture that data. Then I develop the HR process.

Take grievance processes as an example. Someone starts with a blank piece of paper and creates a form. Once a grievance is lodged, the form gets filled in. Now management needs to track progress, so a register is created (usually an Excel spreadsheet). And when analysis is required, someone manually goes through the log and individual forms to find the relevant data. While this process works, it is relatively slow and prone to error.

The improvement is to start at the reporting end. What data do I need to collect for senior management reporting? Generally, it is to identify compliance, trends, and risks and dashboards are the solution.

Now how can I give HR big data to make analysis easier? The answer is a database approach rather than a forms-based approach.

Finally, how can I make the user interface simple and easy for managers and employees to use? BARS (behavioural anchored rating statements) coupled with a data-base user-interface is the answer. This eliminates all the traditional disadvantages while maintaining all the advantages.

The result is you can redesign many HR process using this approach. This includes talent acquisition, probation reviews, learning and development, performance management, salary reviews and management, career pathing, employee engagement and exit interviews.

As post-covid workplaces continue to adapt to changing demands and ideas, the opportunity to apply KISS principles to HR processes is now possible. The benefits include improved employee engagement, freed up management time, and real time highlighting of compliance, risks and trends.

What’s stopping you from achieving these outcomes?

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