OMG! How do I do it all?

Feeling overwhelmed is common among HR practitioners.  

We are involved in all aspects of the business and we need to be aware of what’s happening in every function.  We are expected to be tactical yet strategic, to focus on the detail of the day-to-day while being proactive and looking at what’s ahead for our company and for the HR profession.  How can you do it all?  The short answer is … you don’t have to.  

When we try to be everything to everyone, we may end up doing 100 things at 50%, instead of 10 impactful things at 100%.  Here are a few suggestions on how to check off all of the tasks on your To Do list.

Unclog the Pipe

Picture this … a tube full of tennis balls, stuffed from one end to the other.  The length of the tube represents your individual capacity or that of your HR team.  What happens when we try to jam one more tennis ball into the tube?  Invariably, the one at the end is going to be pushed out.

Communicate with the business, collectively reviewing priorities.  Educate your client group about the time and resources that are needed to successfully achieve both the day-to-day priorities and HR projects.  Be clear about the impact that adding more will have when there may not be capacity. Be prepared to negotiate what takes priority and clarify that something else may have to wait. 

Establish Project Synergies

Often, there is a ‘’go-to’’ group of internal resources with subject matter expertise who are continually called upon to be the team’s representative on multiple projects, thus stretching these limited resources too thin.  In many cases, there are projects with tight deadlines or conflicting objectives. Most of the time, these resources also have important, full-time responsibilities. 

Encourage the creation of a Project Management Office (PMO) or ensure that there is someone within your company assigned as a Project Portfolio Lead.  Establishing a centralized portal of ongoing and upcoming company projects & initiatives is critical so that resources can be allocated effectively.  It promotes cross-functional synergies, improves communication, creates alignment, and prevents duplication of efforts. 

Creatively Delegate

We may think that because an initiative or task is ‘’people related’’ that it has to be done by HR staff.  Respectfully challenge that notion.  If there isn’t any confidential or sensitive information involved, consider who else outside of HR could be of help. 

Carve out HR activities that could be supported by an administrator, can be transformed from manual to electronic, or turned into an employee self-service process.  Perhaps the Receptionist could co-ordinate the booking of pre-screens with candidates or an Executive Assistant could oversee the Employee Service Award program.  Such initiatives don’t have to belong solely to HR.   

Evaluate the Relevance

As business demands change and the world continues to progress, there are emerging HR trends we must be aware of.  Having these significant developments on our radar is important but taking immediate action on each and every one of them is not always necessary. For example, does the evolution of recruitment technology mean that a small business should feel compelled to invest in a complex ATS for low volume hiring?  

Guide the business to determine what topics or advancements are applicable to your company.  Collectively establish what is right for your business so you are being strategic and pragmatic about time and resources spent while being compliant and staying current. Establish a priorities roadmap so that you know when and how you will address the issue. You may be able to take small meaningful steps in achieving the goal over a longer period of time.