Ad Image

Creating Sustainable HR Practices for the New Year

Creating Sustainable HR Practices for the New Year

Creating Sustainable HR Practices for the New Year

As part of Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series—a collection of articles written by industry thought leaders in maturing software categories—Lauren Winans, the CEO and Principal HR Consultant at Next Level Benefits, outlines some of the initiatives companies can take to create sustainable HR practices.

The term “sustainable” is often used in today’s business world to refer to environmentally-friendly initiatives. Becoming “water positive” is one example of a step toward sustainability that has made headlines in 2023. But there is a broader application of “sustainable” that businesses looking to optimize their impact should consider. Sustainable business strategies are essentially those that can be maintained over the long term. They are thoughtfully developed to include components compatible with business operations, culture, and current workforce and market trends.

Strategies that are not sustainable may win in the short term, but they rarely offer long-term solutions that drive success. Cutting prices too aggressively is an example of an unsustainable strategy. While it may boost short-term results, aggressive price cuts typically hurt long-term profitability by failing to provide enough profit for future development.

Developing sustainable human resources strategies is critical to securing overall business success. HR strategies are central to attracting and maintaining a workforce that meets a business’s productivity goals. By building sustainable HR practices, companies ensure they foster a high-performance culture that is empowered, engaged, and effective. 

The following steps can help organizations create a sustainable HR strategy for the coming year.

Sustainable HR Involves Business Alignment

The HR department exists to provide the human resources needed to support a business’s overall goals. As such, its strategies must align with overarching business goals to be sustainable. Consequently, the first step toward developing a sustainable HR strategy is understanding the organization’s broader strategic initiatives. HR teams should collaborate with senior management and key stakeholders to ensure they know overall business strategies. A sustainable approach will seek to identify and provide the talent and skills required to achieve overall objectives.

The communication and collaboration required for developing the initial HR strategy should continue as the strategy is carried out. A sustainable practice will foster ongoing partnerships between HR and other departments. Communication policies and initiatives should ensure all stakeholders are aware of HR initiatives and empowered to provide input and feedback.

Performance management is another critical component of sustainable HR practices. An effective performance management system will provide continuous feedback and coaching to help employees grow professionally. A key element of sustainability is ensuring employees’ individual goals align with organizational objectives.

Sustainable HR Supports Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is one of the most prominent challenges organizations will face as they move into 2024. Surveys show that employee engagement declined in 2023, with less than a third of workers in the US reporting they are engaged at their workplace. To boost sustainability, HR practices should seek to enhance engagement by fostering a positive and productive work environment. One factor that can increase their sustainability is prioritizing employee well-being in HR strategies. This can include promoting programs that support work-life balance, mental health, and ongoing employee recognition.

Supporting flexible work arrangements is another crucial element of sustainable strategies for 2024. A recent study revealed that remote work opportunities top the benefits today’s workers seek. Strategies that embrace remote work and flexible hours have become integral to meeting the expectations of the modern workforce.

Professional development initiatives can also play a role in boosting employee engagement. Sustainable HR strategies will invest in employee learning and development programs. This can include initiatives that provide opportunities for upskilling and reskilling, which help employees improve flexibility and adapt to future business needs.

Sustainable HR Leverages Technology Solutions

HR technology solutions can support sustainability by automating and streamlining HR processes to reduce the talent recruiting and development workload. Employee-facing HR tech, such as self-service portals, can also drive sustainability by improving employee engagement and satisfaction.

HR tech tools can help uncover valuable HR insights by allowing for more effective data analytics. These tools can discover the deeper significance behind workforce trends, such as employee engagement and retention rates. The insights provided by data analysis can improve decision-making and help HR teams identify the most needed or effective initiatives.

Sustainable HR Involves Strategic Hiring

As hiring is one of the critical functions of HR, a sustainable HR strategy must include hiring goals and initiatives that align with the business at large. For example, suppose the company plans to focus on succession planning in 2024. In that case, the HR strategy should include plans to identify and prepare high-potential employees to shift into new leadership roles.

Hiring strategies should also consider the increased focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives within the business world. HR is crucial in developing and promoting a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It can do this by implementing recruiting strategies that attract a diverse talent pool and supporting training programs that promote inclusivity and uncover unconscious biases.

Sustainable HR is Adaptable

Successful businesses evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of the marketplace. To support that evolution, HR strategies must be adaptable and forward-thinking. HR practices are most sustainable when reviewed regularly and updated when evolving business needs demand. By committing to continuous evaluation and improvement, HR departments can ensure their strategies remain relevant and aligned with changing business conditions.

Download Link to Talent Management Buyer's Guide

Share This

Related Posts