Risk Taking as a Fundamental HR Tactic

HR carries a reputation as the “office police.” While this was never intended to be the role of HR, it’s all too often an accurate assessment. HR is in charge of maintaining compliance, keeping employee records organized, and handling disputes, so even the most seasoned HR professional can sometimes get swept up in risk avoidance.

To function most effectively, however, HR must step out of the safe space and move into uncharted territory sometimes. Taking risks can become a strategic HR tactic and comfortably coexist with core HR goals.

Creating Value Instead of Avoiding Mistakes

The main reason for avoiding risks is to prevent the mistakes that may come from failure with new innovations. Instead of saving money and face by avoiding risks, however, HR should be looking to create value within the organization. By shifting the perspective, it opens up new avenues for creativity.

Always Asking “Why”

Simple shifts can make a big difference in some cases, so asking “why” things are done a certain way can be a catalyst for change. Why are interviews conducted on a certain day, would shifting them or opening up more windows for interviews on other days potentially create better recruitment results? Is salary truly the best way to pay managers, or would hourly wages with a guaranteed number of hours work better?

It may be uncomfortable to make these types of changes at first, but starting the process can make for a more flexible workplace and has the potential to drive more dollars to the bottom line.

Allowing Talent to Shine

When HR loosens the reins on rigid policies, it can allow people to maximize their value to the organization. Working with top performers one on one to find out how they can best serve the organization based on their talents flies in the face of the traditional job description, but may have outstanding results.

Smart companies understand that employees have complex skill sets and that using those skills can be fulfilling for both the employee and the organization.

Challenging and Changing the Policies and Practices

Challenging policies and practices is not for the meek. Introducing an idea to key stakeholders and leaders requires strong convictions and a willingness to put effort into research. There will undoubtedly be some resistance and skepticism each time a current policy or practice is challenged, so it’s important that HR professionals plan accordingly and develop a compelling case for taking the risks.

Changing policies and practices is a matter of trial and error, so persistence is required. An idea may not work at first, it’s important to assess whether the shortcomings mean the idea should be scrapped, altered, or simply held in place long enough for the workforce to adapt. While taking risks will always mean a little more work and more effort, those risks may be what adds value to the organization.

HR software can help HR analyze metrics that correlate with changes. If you feel that HR software could help your company use risk taking as a strategic advantage, we can help you find the right solution. Visit our vendor match page to get started.

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