Top 4 Secrets of the most efficient
human resources departments

Human Resources is truly the heart of any company—and because of that, it is vital that the HR department be working at optimum efficiency at all times. However, many HR managers find it difficult to effectively juggle the seemingly never-ending list of responsibilities that fall to their department. From employee benefits to training and organizing company events, you have to be a Jack of All Trades. So how do you do that while also mastering all of the tasks that are given to you? We’ve done a bit of research, and we’ve discovered 4 simple techniques that the most efficient HR departments use to be more effective.

Try utilizing these 4 secrets in your own department, and see what a difference they can make.

Step 1: Recruiting through Social Media

How much time do you spend managing job listings and sorting through applicants for your company’s other departments? For some HR managers, this can take a significant amount of their time; you may even be responsible for conducting initial interviews over the phone, which can really suck your time away—especially if the candidate just isn’t a good fit.

The Power of Social Media


So how do you make recruiting simpler, easier, and more effective? The answer is simple—social media. Using social networks to source and recruit new talent can significantly reduce both the time to hire and the cost per hire. In fact, the companies who use social networks for recruiting purposes improved the time to hire by 2.5 times compared to companies that didn’t use social networks for recruiting. Reducing the time it takes to hire new talent gives you more time for the countless other tasks you have on your plate, and reduces the cost of recruiting and hiring.

Additionally, you don’t have to waste time going through unqualified candidates’ applications. You are able to actually find qualified talent and reach out to them yourself, allowing you to ensure you get applicants that would fit your needs from the very beginning.  In fact, social networking websites are deemed to be the second most effective method for finding new talent, only behind employee referrals.


Join the Winners’ Circle

When it comes down to it, recruiting through social media is an important—and practically free—tool you can use for finding fresh talent quickly and more effectively. Perhaps that’s why “best-in-class” companies are 24% more likely to use social media as a critical recruitment tool than other companies, and 11% more likely to train recruiters on using this tool. Maybe it’s time your company started utilizing this tool as well.

Step 2: Good Talent Management Strategies

Once you get your talent in the door and hired, how are you managing them? Are you just letting them go about their business, or are you monitoring their performance and progress? If you answered the former, then you’re not being nearly as efficient as you could be.

A good talent management strategy has a lot of payoffs, but we’ll address those in a moment. First, let’s discuss exactly what a talent management strategy is.

Simply put, talent management is a system you put in place to develop and retain your most valuable asset—your people. This includes performance assessments, corrective measures where necessary, and giving proper rewards to top performers. But tracking employee performance manually can be difficult, so it’s usually a good idea to find a talent management software to keep track of these kinds of things for you.

Now, on to the benefits of a good talent management strategy:

1) Save Time

According to one study, managers spend 13% of their time managing poor perform­ers, and up to 14% of their time correcting the mistakes those employees make. That comes out to a total of 34 days each year that is spent trying to correct the negative impact of underperformers. With a proper talent management strategy, you can not only pinpoint these underperformers more quickly, but implement strategies to improve their performance.

2) Make More Money

In a study conducted by the Harvard Business School, companies who had developed a cul­ture of performance management saw an in­credible increase of 756% in their net income over a period of 11 years. Those without a performance management culture increased their net income by only 1% in the same time period. Though the disparity in these numbers may seem unbelievable, the facts don’t lie; creating a company culture centered around good tal­ent management strategies encourages better employee performance and company growth. Increased revenue is simply a byproduct of this attitude.

3) Keep Good Employees

step-2-d-secretsEmployees that are categorized as “high performers” only make up about 5% of your workforce—but they produce ap­proximately 26% of your output. But if you don’t know who these high perform­ers are, you’re likely not properly reward­ing them for their exceptional efforts, and that means you’re probably losing them. High performers want (and deserve) rec­ognition, and if they don’t get it, they’re likely to look for other opportunities. And in case you didn’t know, losing a high performer can cost you as much as 3.5 times that employee’s sal­ary.

It’s all in the name of your depart­ment—Human Resources—the hu­mans that make up your business are your greatest resource, and they need to be managed appropriately for you to be truly effective as a de­partment and as a company.

Step 3: Accept Regular Feedback on Culture and Morale

A strong company culture leads to a happy, engaged workforce—and that leads to a successful business. So how can you be sure that your company culture is engaging employees, and how can you get a feeling for the level of morale within the company?

The answer is quite simple: Just ask! Employees are usually more than willing to give feedback on how they feel about their team, their supervisors, and the company as a whole.

step-3-b-secretsYou can begin with very simple, low-tech options like suggestion boxes or open forums that allow employees to share thoughts, concerns, and ideas. You can also implement a number of online tools, like anonymous surveys, that encourage employees to share how they’re feeling about their jobs.

By accepting feedback, you can pinpoint ways to improve company culture and employee engagement, as well as find problems that you may not have known about otherwise. For example, imagine that you have a supervisor who has had a serious negative impact on his or her team, but it has gone unnoticed by HR or upper management.


If the negative behavior goes unchecked, you can lose high-performing employees, or experience slipping productivity due to low morale and unengaged employees. But if you’re soliciting regular feedback from your employees, they will most likely be happy to inform you of any behavior that is negatively affecting the team’s morale, and the manager’s behavior can be corrected.

Getting employees engaged and keeping them happy increases your chances of keep­ing those high-performing employees that we’ve already talked about, which are so valuable to your company. Plus, by getting employee feedback regularly, you can get ahead of minor issues before they become major ones, rather than spending endless days dealing with a big prob­lem later on—what HR manager doesn’t want that?

Step 4: Stop Using File Cabinets

If you’re still keeping all of your employee files, benefits paperwork, and performance reports in a filing cabinet, then you’re wasting time, space, and money. Did you know that, on average, employees spend 30-40% of their time looking for information that is tied up in emails and filing cabinets?

In one year, businesses in the U.S. spend more than $1.5 trillion in salaries dealing with non-productive paperwork. Any amount of time spent digging through a filing cabinet is time wasted. So what can you do to correct this?

The answer is pretty obvious: Ditch the papers! Of course, that’s a lot more difficult than it sounds. Many HR departments have a hard time making the transition to paperless, simply because of the sheer number of documents they handle on a daily basis.

Though making the switch can take time, the benefits that come from a paperless HR department are well worth the effort:

Saving Money

At a salary of $30 an hour, knowledge-based workers (like most of your HR employees) spend about $4,500 a year simply looking for paperwork. A paperless system will cut the time you spend searching for documents down to a fraction of that, saving you money in not only employee salaries, but printing and storage costs as well.

Recovering from Disaster

More than 70% of today’s businesses would fail within three weeks if they experienced a massive loss of paperwork due to fire or flood. But if your documents are stored electronically—more specifically, if they’re stored in a remote server or in the cloud—you don’t have to worry about that paperwork being lost. You’ll always have access to the data, no matter what happens.

Being Secure and Compliant

As an HR department, you handle a lot of sensitive employee information, including information regarding their health benefits. That often means you have to be compliant with HIPAA regulations, which is a full-time job all its own. However, a good paperless system will have the security measures in place to help you protect that information and stay compliant with minimal effort from your department.

These are just a few of the benefits of going paperless, but ultimately, being a more efficient HR department means finding tools and systems that save you time and keep you organized. A paperless document management system does both, and so is an invaluable tool for being as efficient as possible.


A few decades ago, the HR department’s responsibilities were limited to payroll, recruiting, and employee benefits. But now, HR plays a much more dominant role in your company’s business strategy and long-term growth. With all of this new responsibility, it’s more important than ever for HR departments to be as efficient as they possibly can be.

We hope these 4 secrets from best-in-class HR departments will enable you to implement tools and develop strategies that make your own HR department more efficient. If you do, you’re sure to see dividends in time saved, improved employee morale, greater company profits, and fewer headaches for you.


  1. Lahey, Zach. Aberdeen Group. Getting Social about Today’s Sourcing, November 2014.
  2. Cornerstone OnDemand, Inc. Why Your Nonexistent Talent Management Strategy Is Costing You Money, 2015.
  3. Fung, Joseph. 4 Ways to Make HR More Efficient, July 2012.

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