Striving for consistency in your HR practices can have a transformational effect on your workplace culture. Here's how to do it.
Make your best practices accessible
The first step is to document your best practices. Many of them will be included in your Employee Handbook or Personnel Policy Manual. If you haven’t done a review of this document recently, that is a good starting point. Spend some time at your regular management team meeting reviewing key policies with everyone on your team and ask for a commitment to upholding the policies in a fair and consistent manner.
Alongside your policies it can be helpful to have a procedures guide. This is a collection of written procedures that support your policies. The procedures guide spells out in greater detail each of the steps that should be followed when taking a particular action. Each manager on your team should have access to both your policies and procedures and turn to them when questions or issues arise.
Let go of past habits
Be aware that creating a culture of consistency means that your staff will need to let go of “how things used to be” and that change can be difficult. When navigating organizational change, don’t be afraid to speak frankly with your managers and staff about the need for change. Share your vision for how consistent practices will change your organizational culture. Your willingness to take ownership of the vision and guide the process will indicate to your entire staff how important you believe this change is. Three key aspects of the message:
- Ownership of how things were handled (or not) in the past.
- Clear communication about how things will be handled from now on.
- Why the change is important.
Be patient with your managers as they adjust to being held accountable to a higher level of consistency and recognize that they will need your support and coaching. Encourage them to turn to your policies and procedures first and come to you for support once they think they have the right solution. Be sure that your expectations are reasonable and that procedures are not onerous.
Strengthen your team
Creating a culture of consistency will strengthen your management team. Team members will be more willing to support each other in making good decisions when they are confident that they are all being held accountable to the same standards and that they are all working from the same set of operating procedures. Be sure to make time for group discussions when reviewing or creating procedures. Input from all team members will be invaluable to keeping their commitment over the long term.