In the past, trucking companies figured that human resources (HR) was mostly about paying people on time, keeping track of who was working when, and dealing with basic administrative matters.
That just doesn’t fly today.
HR involves recruitment, retention, compensation, training, development, and workforce planning. It’s part of an overall business strategy, and an HR lead is, or should be, a member of senior management. This is the case with all successful carriers in Canada.
When I’m invited to talk about this at industry events and panels, I’m often asked, “What about the small companies that have no HR person to oversee all these things you say are so important?”
My response: No more flying by the seat of your pants. Big or small, your business needs a concrete HR plan with a competent individual in charge.
You need an HR lead. And here are some tips to help you get started:
Define the role
Your HR lead can be a qualified and experienced human resources executive or a member of your management team who has designated responsibility for HR at the company.
Either way, define their role. At the very least, it’s their job to understand your business goals and link them to what you need from your people. They bring this all together through HR approaches that reflect your workplace culture and values.
Develop a plan
Once your HR lead has a grasp on your business, your people, and your values, it’s time to develop a plan. This starts with identifying the skills and competencies you need to help implement your goals. Then you can determine the best ways to recruit, develop, train, pay, and retain people with these skills and competencies.
The devil is in the details. And these details provide the structure you need.
Solidify the plan
Put your HR plan in writing. Clearly state how things should be done and the required standards of behaviour in your organization. Well-written guidelines and policies provide a basis for resolving problems fairly and consistently. They also serve to keep your workplace practices in compliance with employment standards.
Communicate and measure
Now that you have a solid plan linked to your business goals, make sure everyone in the organization is aware of it.
Perceived fairness is critical to employee satisfaction and engagement. This in turn contributes to better retention and performance. Consistency and transparency show that you’re committed to your approaches and to your people.
Your HR lead should also measure progress. From tracking turnover to employee satisfaction levels, you want to be sure your HR approach is actually working for you.
Then, watch your business take off.
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