Get out your pens, binders and notebooks! The bell has also rung in HR departments. Time to return to business and good resolutions to benefit from the summer rest just ended. Reviewing rules for initiatives, requirements and other good ideas to put in place for good management of HR in September.
In summer, “managers could adapt and relax certain practices, without creating a precedent. In this way, they could promote back to business with resources being at the best of their abilities", summarizes Florent Francoeur, Chief Executive Officer of the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréées (Order of Accredited Human Resources Advisors). When it’s time to head back, rested, to the office, it’s also the time to reap the benefits of the summer’s good points and to smoothly undertake the full re-engagement of the troops.
Objective: back to normal
At the peak of the summer sun and heat, dress suits, for example, have often been stored in the closet. Although casual summer outfits have their place during the summer months, once September arrives it’s the time to get out the more serious dress suits. The objective is to once again formalize this very specific context that makes up the workplace, so that this touch of additional rigour is found without waiting for the middle of the tasks undertaken by the company’s employees.
Also, “employees have perhaps been able to benefit from flexible working hours during the summer, greatly appreciated”, says Pascale Bouchard, President and founder of Nexa, executive search firm. Then, with summer over, the usual office hours must be returned to. The idea, there again, is to finally break with the often more flexible conditions of activities under the sun and embrace normality anew, by adopting a more steady pace, requiring investment and presence within the company. This does not preclude the possibility of revisiting arrangements, during the fall, that are intended to more adequately reconcile working time and free time left for the family and personal pursuits. As Florent Francoeur points out, “the commitment of workers within their company also depends on how they are treated. Many companies are aware of this and seek to keep their staff by offering them a better quality of life at work.” Remobilization of employees can therefore also go through a process of redefining what the regular work week is: formalized and adapted to each, both companies and employees can find a benefit from such an approach, the first enjoying the recognition of the second, otherwise happy to be able to enjoy their weekly distribution between home and office.
In September embracing change
New projects, jobs to start, processes and functions to revise or implement… The back to work period can also be the right time to integrate new work methods and make some changes. In the line of fire is company performance and employees' investment in the success of their company.
Improving direct skills for some, planning training sessions for others, reorganisation of responsibilities between different departments and staff… There are multiple initiatives and all must serve the same purpose: provide employees with greater recognition. Florent Francoeur continues, “when the employee considers that he has a well defined place within the organisation and that his contribution is appreciated at its fair value, he is more inclined to be engaged in his work and to excel in it. This therefore is how recognition is a source of motivation that drives the employee to invest in his work.” This investment is clearly sought out at the beginning of fall, after the delays and possible relaxation caused by summer and its good weather.
September, the time for hiring?
Summer is undoubtedly not the best time for hiring and integrating new employees into the company. Holidays for recruiters and absences by many jobseekers, also gone on holiday, often bring interviews and analyses of applications to an abrupt halt. However, although sun, beach and travel have allowed the companies staffing needs be left behind for a while, once back at work the company's needs come once again to the forefront.
A desire for expansion, need to replace future retirees, problems of labour shortages… September can, more than ever, be the ideal time for hiring. Especially so since at this time newcomers, just graduated, arrive on the job market. It is an ideal opportunity to meet them and embrace the best demographic impacts related to recruitment that are currently shaking companies up. “Although it’s no so long ago that there was talk about how to attract and retain Generation Y, now we talk about Generation C, for Communication”, explains Pascale Bouchard. “Here we’re talking about 12 to 25 year olds, technophiles, people adept with communication tools, who have a sense of community and who love direct, instantaneous and real time communication.”
Although it’s still too early to focus directly on younger people among them, the back-to-work time may be the time to attract the attention of older ones, those just launching on the market with assets and skills in their pocket. The best activities to reach them, with the return of this busy period? Keep social networks at hand, the main communication tools for this age category and points of potentially fruitful contacts for future recruitment.
A bit of formality, the opportunity to inject new methods and work organizations and the opportunity for other recruitment: September is definitely the time of recovery for HR departments.