10 Things to Make an HR Department Great

Good HR makes for good business because a company’s people are its competitive advantage. By extension, then, great HR would make for great business. 

But what separates good from great? In our industry, a great human resource department brings something extra to an organization, helping to attract, retain, motivate, and inspire the people they work with. 

Let’s take a closer look at 10 things to make an HR department great. 

#1. A great HR department puts people first.

It’s simple but true: people are the foundation of any company. They’re the ones building relationships, coming up with ideas, and sharing the stories that make lasting connections in any industry. A great HR department understands people are paramount to success—and puts taking care of them first.  

#2. A great HR department understands company strategy. 

There’s a huge gulf between an HR department that checks the boxes and an HR department that understands the organization’s vision, goals, and strategy. Strategic HR sees its function as integral to company success and has earned the trust of leadership to drive talent strategy and lead initiatives crucial to getting the organization where it wants to go. 

#3. A great HR department makes a good first impression. 

A great HR department understands the importance of employer brand in attracting talent and creating a positive candidate experience in hiring and onboarding employees. 

#4. A great HR department pays people on time. 

This might seem basic, but it’s not. Any organization not succeeding with on-time, well-managed payroll has a problem to solve—and is going to create a credibility problem with current and potential employees. 

#5. A great HR department is fair. 

A great HR department is neutral, taking no sides in employee-employer disputes. Instead, its members work to solve them fairly and transparently, and ensure documentation and compliance. After all, making decisions about employees’ roles and company functions should be handled objectively. 

#6. A great HR department is consistent. 

Fairness and consistency go hand in hand. A great HR department should create and implement policies and procedures clearly and consistently. The HR department should also ensure no one in the organization is exempt from disciplinary action, whether minor (like showing up late) or major (like sexual harassment). 

#7. A great HR department keeps and provides information. 

A great HR department has all necessary and relevant information readily available to prospective and current employees. Whether it concerns dress code, vacation time, or maternity leave, the HR department should provide clear information whenever it is needed or requested. 

#8. A great HR department incorporates tools and technology. 

Technology has changed how many of us do our jobs, and this includes the HR function. A great HR department is up to date on tools and technology, from employee engagement surveys to hiring platforms and social media channels. Even more importantly, its members know how to use these tools to make their jobs easier, more effective, and more strategic. 

#9. A great HR department knows the power of communication. 

Communication is key to building trust with employees. Many organizations learned this lesson the hard way during the pandemic, when effective and consistent communication could have helped employees navigate uncertain and stressful times. A great HR department has established communication channels with prospective and current employees and stays on top of communication needs. 

#10. A great HR department builds relationships. 

Of course, HR is about policies and procedures. But HR is also about people. A great HR department goes beyond employee pulse surveys and questions about benefits to build strong, healthy relationships across functions. 

In your experience, what attributes make a great HR department? Where could your organization’s staff build their skills? 

DallasHR is the third-largest SHRM affiliate chapter in the nation. With more than 2,000 engaged HR professionals, the Chapter has been Advancing the Value of HR since 1939 through innovative education, valuable networking events and providing opportunities to share best practices with others in the field of HR. The HRSouthwest Conference powered by DallasHR, is the official Texas SHRM conference and one of the largest regional HR events in the U.S. Visit us at Dallashr.org, hrsouthwest.com and follow us at #dallashr, #hrswc.