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12 HR Critical Success Factors for Forward-Thinking Leaders

hr managers icon6 min read

As a human resources leader, you’re responsible for delivering programs that improve the employee experience and help the organization accomplish its goals. Achieving success in those areas requires meeting the expectations of employees and senior leaders alike. 

As one HR consultant described in a recent SHRM article, “CEOs want HR to hire people more quickly and keep them longer. They want help achieving big goals for growth or turnaround. They want a change agent, someone with ideas and energy and patience to make things happen. They want someone who questions the status quo.” 

With the right tools and support, you can successfully exceed expectations and deliver value along all the stages of the employee lifecycle journey. Here are 12 critical HR success factors to guide you:

Top Critical HR Success Factors

1. Culture

At the heart of every organization is its culture—the attitudes and behaviors defining how things get done. When you incorporate activities to build a great company culture, your employees benefit, and you also attract candidates with similar values and cultural ideals.

You can improve company culture by encouraging team-building activities and clear communication at all levels of the organization. You can also provide employees with tools that make their lives easier at work, for example, human capital management software that features employee self-service access.

2. Talent Acquisition

Good talent is hard to find, particularly in a tight labor market. According to an XpertHR survey, almost a third of surveyed HR professionals named recruiting and hiring as their most critical challenge. Of those, 51 percent said they were “extremely challenged” in finding high-quality candidates.

A well-crafted recruitment strategy and process will help you source, select, and hire the talent required for your organization to succeed. Available HR software provides reporting and data management tools to help you understand the effectiveness of your recruiting activities and keep better track of candidates in your talent pipeline.

3. Workforce Planning

Being a forward-thinking HR leader means anticipating future talent needs. A critical part of your success relies on being prepared to help the organization find new talent or reskill existing employees, so they can tackle change and new ways of working. When you have all-in-one HR technology to help you manage your workforce from one convenient location, you can develop a more complete picture of your company’s staffing and skill development needs.

View our ultimate guide to employee management and see how streamlining HR functions provides a competitive advantage. >>

4. Compensation

A recent Achievers study found that 52 percent of employees are looking or would consider leaving their company because of compensation. To engage and retain your employees, you need a competitive mix of salary and other rewards. To understand workforce compensation trends and plan for salary adjustments and incentives, you could benefit from an integrated payroll system that allows you to track employee pay alongside performance and other factors.

5. Benefits and Employee Wellness

The safety and wellbeing of employees are always important, but due to COVID-19, your organization may be facing new challenges in keeping employees healthy and safe. Whether your employees are working remotely or beginning to return to the office, you may need to consider a different or new mix of benefits to support their health and wellness. Some of the benefit changes you may want to consider include:

  • Expanded flexible work arrangements
  • Additional paid time off and family leave options
  • Virtual medical care coverage

6. Training 

Employee training can take many forms, from classroom training to on-the-job learning. Not only do you need to track training participation and costs, but you also want to understand the effectiveness of your existing training. With a clear picture of employee skill levels and prior training attendance, you can identify which new programs and experiences will aid further learning. 

7. Leadership Development

A strong pipeline of company leaders helps ensure a sufficient number of managers for key roles, and it helps your organization prepare for the future. Tracking HR metrics, such as turnover by manager, can help you understand the strength of your managers and where they may need help leading and retaining members of their team. 

The following programs and activities can help you develop leaders in your organization:

  • Mentorship programs
  • Stretch assignments
  • Rotational programs
  • Training and coaching

8. Employee Engagement

According to Gallup, only 35 percent of U.S. employees are engaged or highly committed to their work and organization. To improve engagement, you first need to understand which aspects of the employee experience are engaging for your employees, and which are not. Conducting engagement surveys and tracking trends in employee responses over time can help you identify the drivers of engagement in your organization and how to build greater commitment among employees.

9. Employee Relations

If your organization is experiencing issues related to harassment, team communication, or managers who struggle to lead, it can hurt employee retention and satisfaction. The success of your HR function relies on the timely and fair resolution of those issues. Managing employee relations issues helps employees see the value of HR, and also prevents smaller problems from snowballing into bigger ones.

10. Performance Management 

A robust performance management program helps you understand employee effectiveness and productivity. It also helps you identify areas where employees need improvement. By using HR software with a module for performance management, you can keep track of employee ratings, feedback notes, and productivity reports. When it’s time for performance reviews, managers will have easy access to historical performance data for their employees.

11. Diversity and Inclusion 

Creating an environment that brings together different people, experiences, and ways of working supports creative decision-making and a culture of mutual respect. Whether you’re designing a new diversity and inclusion program or you need help with standard EEOC reporting, HR software can help you better understand the demographics of your organization and how to build a more inclusive workplace.

12. Compliance

The SHRM digest of federal labor laws lists 58 distinct federal employment laws covering just about every aspect of HR. There are also state laws and federal agencies that set rules for the workplace. To meet your year-round compliance obligations, it’s essential to keep track of regulations impacting the following areas: 

  • Benefits and COBRA administration
  • Paid leaves
  • Payroll
  • Workers compensation

Apply HR Success Factors and Exceed Employee Expectations

Meeting the needs and expectations of your workforce is no easy feat, but the right tools can strengthen your chances of success in the top HR success factors discussed above. All-in-one workforce management software can provide the automation support and reporting capability you need to exceed employee expectations and support their needs. To learn more about how you can build an environment that engages and retains your employees, read our e-book, Exceeding Employee Expectations.

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