What is Strategic HR Support?
I (Carolyn Giles) joined the employment team in 2014 as an HR consultant. Since that time, when I was delivering a very wide range of employment services including day to day advice, training, consultations etc, my role in the team has been refined.
Strategic Human Resources sits within the HR profession, governed and guided through the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development. I am a Fellow of the institute.
Many refer to HR as the ‘dark art’, it is certainly more art than science, so hopefully this will tell you a little about what I do in a practical sense.
I undertake hands on disciplinary and grievance investigations. This involves detailed review and reporting on circumstances that may lead to a disciplinary or grievance hearing. This work can take days of investigation, interviewing and report writing in some cases.
Many of our SME clients are either inexperienced or nervous about conducting disciplinary, capability or grievance hearings. If I haven’t conducted an investigation, I will often sit alongside, or replace a Senior Manager or business owner to conduct a disciplinary, recommend a decision and draft a letter of termination or warning.
In TUPE, reorganisation and redundancy situations I will work with the management team to present to employees, undertake consultation meetings and draft documentation to ensure that full and effective consultation takes place with employees. This can include interviewing groups and individuals.
I regularly work with business owners to ensure that they have considered how they need to reorganise, what their aims are, how they wish their workforce to be structured and what skill sets are required.
I draft policies for organisations, particularly healthcare organisations with employees who have been transferred from the public sector and require detailed policies for their specific clinical professionals. I work primarily with GP practices and community dental providers.
I work frequently with staff consultative bodies. I have developed these bodies from scratch by identifying representatives, training them, attending their meetings and ensuring they perform effectively and proactively support their organisations to engage the employees and identify continuous improvements within their organisations.
I am very experienced in working alongside Trade Unions in a variety of different employment situations.
I have worked with a number of clients to establish the need for Senior Manager support and draft job descriptions, person specifications, adverts, assessment centres and support the entire selection process. This includes Managing Directors, Practice Managers and HR Professionals.
I work with Boards and Senior Managers as well as business owners to look at the workforce requirements that fit with the business strategy they have in place. This can be due to rapid growth, diversification, downsizing or a need (particularly in healthcare) to provide new skill sets to account for a lack of specific clinical availability (e.g. lack of GPs).
I regularly work with organisations who have inexperienced HR managers and need senior professional expertise. In this circumstance I provide mentorship to the HR within the organisation, attend key meetings, identify priorities, deliver training and development, provide organisational development support, draft HR strategies and action plans and deliver operational HR support if needed.
In many of our clients they need new reward and pay structures as they are delivering public services at a reduced cost with transferred staff. We look at new terms and conditions and pay schemes and identify how that will impact upon long term recruitment and retention. These schemes are often reviewed and amended over time. Within this I often have to evaluate roles so I can identify appropriate salary levels for posts, within a fair process.
I regularly draft Board Papers for clients and present to Boards on a variety of employment related issues.
I develop performance management systems for clients. Often these are appraisal systems, but current research and practice is moving towards new and ongoing performance management requiring high quality training for line managers and regular contact between line managers and employees to ensure effective performance, addressing concerns and career development and talent management opportunities.
Our most successful work at the moment is working intensely with Directors, Business Owners and Senior Management to improve the quality of line management practice. This includes learning sessions where we work with teams of managers to identify and develop good practice, challenge their current working methodologies and then coach and support them to manage and develop their teams to create higher performance levels. We work alongside a management development expert and create ongoing development programmes. We are currently collecting the data on how this can positively impact upon the bottom line. We know it is working well and management practice is improving. We now need financial statistics to show how line management improvements lead to business improvement and financial success.
We have developed a suite of training courses we can deliver within organisations to teams or as open courses that individuals attend alongside delegates from other organisations. They include:
- Appropriate behaviour
- Investigations / Discipline etc.
- Managing attendance
- Developing a performance review structure and managing individual performance
- Resilience for individuals in the workplace
- Social media and managing multi generational workforces
- Recruitment and Selection
I hope this gives you a small taste of what we mean by Strategic HR in terms of client delivery within the Employment Team.