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February 15, 2024

Understanding HR processes: Keys to efficient human resource management

Discover what HR processes are and how you can strategically use them.


  • What are HR processes?
  • Benefits of having well-managed HR processes
  • What can HR departments do to better manage HR processes?

An organization’s ability to bounce back from financial troubles and meet short- and long-term goals depends on the strength of its HR department and operational practices. According to Harvard Business Review, 16% of mid-sized companies state their top departmental challenge is addressing and dealing with weaknesses in HR processes.

That number is concerning as human resource management is a large and critical part of an organization. How can a business streamline tasks for better employee attraction, retention, and organization? The answer lies in robust, organized HR processes.

Continue reading to discover the core HR processes a company must manage, and learn how Marsh McLennan Agency’s HR consulting specialists can guide HR professionals to more effective HR management.

What are HR processes?

HR processes are the foundational practices and methods that help a company operate smoothly and hire the most qualified candidates. HR professionals are the heart of every organization, keeping employees happy and ensuring business processes meet company expectations. A firm grip on daily tasks can help businesses find long-term success and remain competitive in the marketplace.

Businesses can split HR operations into two different categories. One category has duties that focus on acquiring, hiring, training, and managing HR tasks. The other has jobs that monitor and maintain employees’ health and happiness within the company.

Some examples of core HR processes include:

  • Benefits administration: Managing salary and wage decisions, perks, fringe benefits, and employee remunerations.

  • Employee relations: Taking the lead on all things legal and relational regarding employees. This includes workplace culture, worker safety, workforce crisis management, work-life balance, employment insurance, employee well-being and support programs, and life stress counseling.

  • Hiring: Attracting and interviewing potential candidates who can be full time, part time, or an intern or apprentice.

  • Human resource planning: Controlling staffing requirements, leave management, shift planning and forecasting, and overtime management.

  • Offboarding: Gathering information from individuals leaving the organization based on their employee experience to pass on to the next person taking their role.

  • Onboarding: Getting new employees introduced to the organization and helping them assimilate with the role they’ll be taking on.

  • Performance management: Creating annual performance indicators and goals to determine if the company is meeting expectations.

  • Recruitment: Attracting efficient candidates suited for the company culture and tasks assigned to them.

  • Training: Assisting your employees with what’s expected of them and giving them necessary and compliant information about their role, safety best practices, and the company.

Why leaders should care about HR processes

Business leaders who are agile and adaptable are better positioned to face their industry’s constant challenges and changes. In the modern workplace, C-suite executives must now work with HR departments to be strategic partners for decision-making and planning for the future.

Ultimately, when your organization has well-organized HR processes, everyone can flourish, leading to employee satisfaction that can help drive revenue. A sturdy HR process can set your company up for success. It can also act as a risk management strategy for your organization, preparing your company to be flexible in the face of changes.

Benefits of having well-managed HR processes

Human resource management is part of any organization. However, the most successful businesses have substantial HR operations that impact the company’s performance and future success. Here are some of the advantages of having well-managed HR policies:

Increased focus on company goals

If HR professionals get stuck in the weeds of internal processes and daily tasks, they can step back to look at the bigger picture. A lack of alignment between individuals and the organization’s initiatives can make employees feel disconnected and left out, resulting in poor performance and work ethic.

By aligning with an effective management solution, HR staff can incorporate goal-setting into operations, boost strategic design-making, and improve employee morale. When employees know they have an essential role in the company, they tend to be more likely to unite to help the company achieve its goals.

More productive employees

When employees are aware of the company’s goals and strive to meet them, they can become likely to produce high-quality work at faster speeds. According to Gallup, employees are six times more likely to be productive and engaged when they can use their strengths to help companies reach their targets.

HR departments can better support current workers when they have the necessary tools and resources. This support enables HR professionals to build closer relationships with the team and provide further chances for growth and success. When employees can learn more about their jobs and invest in themselves both financially and physically, they’ll be able to produce better work. 

Improved employee engagement

According to Gallup, employee engagement has been on a downward slope, dropping to 36% in 2020, 34% in 2021, and 32% in 2022. This trend puts companies at risk of losing precious production and quality. HR departments are more likely to receive increasingly engaged members when they equip them with tools that manage employee health and happiness.

Clear objectives established through well-managed HR processes, regular recognition of employees’ needs, and opportunities for closer relationships with those around them all help lead to a more interactive workforce.

Increased company efficiency

From a streamlined recruitment and hiring process to effective training and performance management, strategic and well-organized HR processes support can help companies become more efficient. By simplifying tasks and automating operations, teams reduce the time spent toiling over jobs. More time can help teams build relationships, support staff members, and introduce beneficial employee resources.

Implementing these practices allows your HR department to run like a well-oiled machine. When missing or misaligned, vital elements can cost your business time, energy, and skilled workers.

Enhanced data security

HR professionals handle many personal and financial information levels for existing and potential employees. Enhanced privacy and security best practices can help protect a business's data sets. Investing in strong HR processes ensures no gaps for breaches, stolen, or misused data.

An HR management system can help companies encrypt systems with suitable software to prevent hackers from reaching sensitive information. Additionally, streamlined HR processes can make payroll more secure, generally requiring password authorization and two-factor authentication.

What can HR departments do to manage HR processes better?

It may be time to reevaluate your HR processes if you’ve struggled to maintain a consistent and efficient workflow. Process evaluations can boost your current HR department’s efficiency and refine your business operations for better performance.

Some tips to adjust your HR processes include:

Automate where there’s opportunity

Technology can accomplish much for an organization if a business implements it effectively. In an HR department, automation can help processes function more smoothly and limit the number of manual tasks. For example, team members can use tools to manage payroll, benefits enrollment, and employee onboarding to mitigate human errors and reduce time spent.

To determine what tasks can be automated, look at what takes your team the most time to accomplish. After that, identify trends in frustrations or concerns employees bring up and see how implementing technology into those operations could reduce irritation.

Review and align with company goals

Talent acquisition makes hiring decisions focus more on the company’s future success and not just fill empty positions when needed. While bridging gaps to meet your organization’s immediate needs is essential, using a strategy for future-facing decision-making is critical for long-term success.

Start by reviewing the company’s goals and determine how hiring plays a part. Analyze your company’s retention rate and employee engagement to evaluate if you’re hiring suitable types of people for the company and keeping them happy and in tune with business targets.

Ultimately, HR departments should work with the company’s initiatives, pushing the organization closer to its goals. If your current processes hinder or even work against these targets, it’s time to determine your business’s goals and how hiring will help accomplish them.

Get feedback from employees and HR staff regularly

Use your workforce's knowledge of the industry and internal workings of the organization to help improve your business's process management. Allowing your employees to share their experiences can uncover what frustrations hinder them from completing work quickly. These discussions can also reveal what additions to the HR department could be advantageous.

How you’ll receive this feedback is determined by the size and structure of your organization. If you have a relatively small team, you may be able to sit down one-on-one with each worker to hear their thoughts. If this isn’t possible or takes too much time, try utilizing a third party to send an employee satisfaction survey to glean information without spending hours in meetings.

Once you have the survey responses provided by your team, evaluate them, discuss management’s action steps in response to the feedback, and share information with the participants to engage them in the process.

Ensure processes work together

Your HR processes should work together to become holistic and efficient. While you don’t need the same HR automation software for every task, your technology should work seamlessly and integrate without trouble.

Additionally, your HR processes should act as a cycle, moving employees from one step to another. HR professionals should collect applications, interview potential candidates, onboard employees, and get them acquainted with the company smoothly. All aspects of HR are one piece of the puzzle, working together to support the employee lifecycle. The whole process can become inefficient if one or two elements are missing or don’t fit into the picture correctly.

Utilize Marsh McLennan Agency’s HR consulting team

A trained HR consulting specialist can help you develop a plan to streamline challenging HR processes. Every company is unique, and we understand that. Marsh McLennan Agency offers knowledge and recommendations based on your company’s needs and industry trends. Navigate the vast landscape of HR processes and uncover a winning solution that eases the pressure off your HR department with our help.

By partnering with Marsh McLennan Agency, you can utilize various services that include:

  • Compensation services and total rewards
  • Concierge HR outsourcing
  • Culture and employee engagement surveys
  • HR compliance and operational reviews
  • HR projects, special services, and attorney-led compliance
  • “HR On Call” subscription service
  • HR transformation
  • Interim professional placement
  • Recruiting services

Take your existing HR processes and maximize them for ideal return on investment and employee retention with our team’s help.

Reach out to a specialist to learn more about Marsh McLennan Agency’s HR Consulting solutions.