August 18, 2015

How does my company develop internal HR capability?

There are many training options and techniques for developing internal HR skills and capabilities but the starting place should always be the same. Do an internal audit. You have to know where your HR team is now before you can work out how to get it where it needs to be.

You need to know what skills you have in-house, where the skills gaps are now, what skills will be needed in the future and so on. Look at where your HR team’s strengths and weaknesses are, on an individual and team level. Look at the different functions – how is Recruitment? L&D? Employee benefits? Also, look at how your internal HR capability fits in with overall business needs – does your HR team have the capabilities needed to serve the business well now and in the future?

Get the data and use it analyse how individuals and teams are performing. Everything is data driven these days and the tools are readily available, so there is no excuse to not have all of this information. Analytics can really identify and clarify where problems lie. On the flip side, analytics also identify and clarify where performance is strong. Use this information to target your efforts.

The whole process will give a good overview of how your HR team is performing, while enabling you to drill down into specific areas that need attention.

Once you have identified your weak spots, you need to build up skills in those areas. How? Well, that depends entirely on the skills that are lacking, the requirements, the organisation and so on. If it’s a matter of technical or compliance skills, for example, then a course might be required. However, if it is more complicated – such as a whole team with performance issues – then the solution will be more complicated too.

There’s a whole host of employee development and performance management training and techniques out there so work out which will best suit your purpose. Mentoring, coaching, online tutorials, gamification, for example – consider which one, or which mix, will produce the best results for your organisation. Be results driven – make sure you know what you want the training to achieve, how it will achieve it and what benefit it will bring.

Don’t concentrate all your efforts on your weak spots and neglect the high performers though. Identify and nurture your top talent – you need their skills to really take the business forward and you need to retain them. Give them assignments that stretch them and develop their skills. Demonstrate that they will have a fulfilling career in your organisation. Look at providing secondments, really business-focused learning opportunities, that benefit the individual and the organisation.

Foster a high performance culture in the organisation as a whole. Celebrate and reward successes and it will inspire people to go the extra mile.

Also, as on-the-job learning is widely recognised as the most common and effective learning there is, think about how your top performers could share their skills and knowledge with others. Deploy them as mentors, create podcasts that showcase their skills and experiences, etc. Collaborative learning is hugely important, particularly to the younger generations, so facilitate peer to peer learning, set up communities of practice, online portals and create networking spaces where employees can share ideas and skills.

At the end of the day, the best way to develop skills and capabilities is to have a strong learning culture and that learning culture has to include those within the HR department.