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Make common sense a part of your human resources strategy.

The best human resources leaders run departments that are fluid and proficient. This requires shaping effective processes but also knowing when to bend the rules. In fact, when we asked our people operations team to highlight top HR sins, recruiter Will Otto warned that process isn’t everything. Prioritizing process over common sense can come back to bite HR professionals. Common sense must be a part of your human resources strategy.

Keep these tips in mind when developing, implementing, and updating your HR strategy:

Don’t do it for the sake of process. 

If you were to start an HR department from the ground up, you wouldn’t get far without establishing systems and processes. There’s a lot to map out from org design to comp philosophy (and the list goes on). Build with purpose. Be sure that you aren’t performing unnecessary actions for the sake of following process.

If you’re going to ask candidates or employees to complete an action, make sure there’s a valid reason for it. If there isn’t one, you might be doing it for the sake of maintaining status quo—and irritating your employees as a result. You want your people to know that HR has their best interests in mind. Don’t be a rigid obstacle your employees may be quick to dismiss or avoid.

Be agile.

When your systems and processes aren’t set in stone, you can afford the HR department some flexibility. This allows you to make a positive impact on candidates, employees, clients, and business results.

As author and consultant Steve Denning wrote in Forbes, organizations that are truly agile “adjust everything—goals, values, principles, processes, systems, practices, data structures, incentives—to generate continuous new value for customers.”

To empower your employees to work at their potential, you need to shift gears and adjust systems and processes as needed. Let’s say you find that your annual performance-based bonus plan is leading to unhealthy competition and causing a toxic workplace. Redesign it so that you reward employees based on how well they upheld company values throughout the year.

Design your human resources strategy for business success.

When you focus on common sense, you can build a flexible strategy that allows your HR team to power business success. While HR has traditionally dealt with the support and paperwork side of things, it has the potential to do far more. Enlightened HR leaders can absolutely be strategic business partners who solve real problems. Impact the bottom line by designing a strategy that defines short- and long-term business objectives and that can evolve mid-period as necessary.

Whether you’re coaching employees on how to design personalized onboarding plans or helping the executive team tweak your company strategy, always remember to use common sense to guide your decision making. 


Jackie is the SVP of talent optimization at PI. She was born in Switzerland but isn't a dual citizen.

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