Leave it to Ethena’s VP of People Melanie Naranjo — yes, the same LinkedIn superstar you’ve seen espousing HR gems on the regular — to perfectly sum up what being part of HR actually entails (spoiler: just about everything):
“HR is such a broad and all-encompassing field: it’s employee wellness, employee engagement, employee happiness. It’s performance reviews and performance management. It’s DEI, it’s compliance.”Melanie Naranjo, VP of People
(Quote is courtesy of our latest weekly livestream on June 7. Join us for our next one!) But with more companies reducing headcount and budget of late, HR teams have had to become more scrappier than ever. Many are being tasked with doing more with less, which is a particularly huge ask for those of you who are gallantly running a department of one.
But we have good news, HR friends: Melanie and the experts at Ethena are here to help lighten that load.
3 HR strategies for when you have limited resources
From implementing useful techniques to adopting the right tools to save your time (and sanity), we’re here to serve up three solid HR strategies designed to keep burnout at bay and motivation momentum strong. Here’s what we’ll cover today:
- Automating repetitive tasks
- Distributing workloads
- Never starting from scratch
1. Save time with automation
HR can improve employees’ lives on so. many. levels.
Which is wonderful, but the reality is that many HR-related tasks can also be repetitive. Think new employee onboarding, manager training sessions, annual performance reviews, employee surveys — all super important, essential, useful … and also needed on repeat.
Which is why HR automation is the perfect strategy to get these tasks done and dusted efficiently. In a nutshell, here’s how automation works:
- It helps you make decisions upfront
- It lets you easily commit to those decisions
- It allows you to automate similar decisions moving forward
With that primer down, let’s look at a few ways this strategy can be put into practice.
Take the temperature of the workplace with employee surveys
The focus here (as with all things) is to work smarter, not harder. Decision-making fatigue is a real thing, so let’s look at an example of how to reduce it. In the case of employee surveys, decide up front what the purpose and direction of the survey is, commit to that process, and then automate the next steps.
Decide up front:
- Why are we doing this and what problem are we trying to solve? Thinking it through from the outset will inform the next steps and set the tone for running future surveys by establishing a solid starting point.
- What’s a must-have versus a nice-to-have? We say “less is more” for a reason: if you can glean the same info in 20 survey questions versus 50, stick to 20 (or even fewer!) that address high-risk areas like employee engagement (as opposed to, say, opinions on office snacks).
Commit to the process:
- How much bandwidth do you have? Chopping a survey down to the essentials has additional benefits: if you’re a single individual running an HR team, it’ll be you weeding through all that data.
- What readily-available resources can you tap into? Are there free platforms you can leverage, or an opportunity to lobby for more budget to support your needs? Both have the potential to support automation, so they’re worth considering!
Automate next steps:
- Set up an email template to copy-paste text when sending out future surveys.
- Keep the timing cycle streamlined, like making sure the deadline is always two weeks after a survey is sent out, and surveys are always completed three months after performance reviews.
- Create an FAQ doc to link out to instead of answering the same employee questions over and over.
Stay on track with timely training
This decision, commitment, and automation process can also apply to your training needs, whatever those might be (for example, onboarding, new manager training, harassment prevention, etc.). For instance, instead of hosting a live training session for new managers, here’s an alternative workflow that should lighten the lift.
- Decide upfront: Who gets the training and when is it assigned? Set the cadence at the outset like assigning training to go out to new hires on a monthly basis … instead of every single time a new hire is made. This helps immensely with decision-making fatigue.
- Commit to the decision: Record a live training session to send out so you don’t have to repeat the same information endlessly.
- Automate the decision: Assign the training out, and schedule a follow-up roundtable to discuss any questions or concerns as a group.
The takeaway here: If it feels easier each time, that means you’re doing it right — saving time and resources, both of which are precious and finite.
1. Boost employee engagement with Ethena’s (new!) Employee Surveys tool
We know that a front-and-center goal of most companies is to accomplish more things with fewer tools. That’s why we’re delighted to share that Ethena’s new Employee Survey tool is available to support your needs even further.
Here’s the key point: Employee surveys can be sent out via the same platform as Ethena’s trainings to consolidate resources. Surveys can be created with existing system integrations so you can deploy the survey and get those deep, rich insights all in one place.
2. Avoid reinventing the wheel with Ethena’s intuitive integrations
Nowadays, companies are looking to launch training in one go — and Ethena is the perfect compliance training partner to support that goal. Our platform integrations ensure marketing and communication messaging is streamlined and can be sent to employees all over the country, or even the world (whether you have 20 employees or 20,000.
All we need from you is to determine the deadlines: If you plan to send out training in January and set a completion date of three months, then come March, Ethena will send an automatic reminder to any employee who hasn’t completed the training. And note: instead of multiple reminders to everyone, notices are only sent to those who need to take action.
3. Streamline your internal processes with LMS Essentials
Another efficiency tip: Use an LMS (or learning management system) when you lead trainings so you can record them once and assign them out moving forward. Our LMS Essentials feature allows you to host homegrown trainings from your company within Ethena’s best-in-class platform — all while taking advantage of our existing notification and reminder functionality. Busy HR teams can also delegate these assignments to managers and share insights through our automated functionality so the burden doesn’t fall exclusively onto your already-overloaded plate.
2. Distribute the workload
This is important: Employee success — and this includes all employees — doesn’t fall solely on the shoulders of HR. Even if you’re a solid team of one, success isn’t achievable without the input and contributions of folks across the company — including leadership and managers. So for People initiatives to work, it’s essential to distribute the workload.
Here are two tactical approaches to implement this strategy of HR consolidation:
Equip your managers to manage effectively. Supply tools to your managers like:
- Coaching (for instance, through a resource like BetterUp)
- Performance management techniques (using weekly pulse check questions to monitor performance)
- Knowledge on salary bandwidths (set up a document outlining salary ranges and what it takes to reach each level),
- Training and survey completion data (ensure your vendor makes this information sharable)
Without supplying these tools in advance, your HR team of one can be reactive. And being constantly in the position of the damage-control police, often when it’s too late, sucks up value time and energy. Use HR consolidation to your advantage by offering resources proactively.
Empower your employees: Everyone contributes to workplace culture, so have employees take an active and engaged role in establishing it. HR burnout happens when HR tries to tackle it all. No! Let your employees help.
Depending on your budget, offer a monthly stipend where each employee can expense $100 (this is what we do at Ethena) to meet their coworkers for a fun activity of their choice, from kayaking to manicures to taking in a matinee.
To spotlight DEI initiatives, encourage employees to talk about an awareness month or share their perspective in Slack or other communication channels. Turn to existing resources like free webinars on topics of interest, have folks watch them, and then have breakout sessions to discuss. Open up a dialogue around forming ERGs and support employees with resources to create them.
3. Don’t start from scratch
In HR especially, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel: leverage existing resources! This isn’t about taking the easy way out, it’s about efficiency. Lean on available tools and resources, and don’t start from scratch. Ever.
Here are some ways to leverage some fantastic already-in-existence tools:
- There’s no need to build a whole new mission statement and framework for key policies. Customize a preexisting DEI program (we share Ethena’s DEI approach here, or you can also request a sample of our DEI course for more ideas). Then, set up time for a roundtable discussion with people from across the company. And the same approach works for more code of conduct-centered documentation like creating a dating policy, by the way. You’re not expected to draw that up out of nothing!
- For employee surveys, no need to rack your brain for never-before-used questions. Use a template available online (like Ethena’s) and customize it as needed. Plus, using the same survey provides an effective benchmark to compare year-over-year survey results.
- Leverage an existing management training solution, like Ethena’s In Good Company manager training series (starring our very own VP of People, Melanie Naranjo) which includes a free-to-download manager survey. Two more low-lift ways to leverage tools? Choose a webinar to watch or pick a podcast on effective manager training and set up a time to discuss it later.
In essence: Don’t make everything from scratch — there’s no shame in using a recipe! Grab resources and templates wherever possible to save you time.
How to save time and money with HR automations
We’ve gone over a ton of great info today. And while we’re confident that we’ve made clear all the ways Ethena keeps HR tasks efficient and cost-saving, here’s a quick summary:
- Consolidation of resources to save money: no need to subscribe to multiple training vendors when a single one like Ethena gets the job done. Our one-stop-shop provides management dashboards, tracks completion, sends timely training reminders, and offers LMS features that can host homegrown trainings, and more.
- Championing HR effectiveness: Ethena supports integrations with platforms you already use (like Slack, Bamboo HR, and Gusto, to name just a few).
- Alignment with your company’s efficiency goals: Think of it this way — optimizing for what your CEO wants goes a long way toward saving money and benefiting the business (for instance, choosing a strong vendor like Ethena means not having to hire someone to oversee multiple HR processes), while offering an improved employee experience through a single platform.