Clear Ways of Working and Structures

How optimising your employee experience can help you achieve your HR strategy goals

Did you know that UK staff spends on average 1 hour 24 minutes being unproductive each day ? Add it up over the course of a year and that one hour plus per days is getting pretty costly for businesses. The cause of this downtime is not so clearly defined and can be anything, from inefficient processes and murky role expectations to a disengaged workforce. Which is why it’s understandable that many HR professionals tasked with reviewing their company’s HR policy or even writing a new one from scratch will want to tackle productivity and motivation as part of their efforts. But before jumping in to the ‘how to fix it’ part of the plan, at Let’s Talk Talent, we like to give you all the tools you need to make sure everything is properly aligned. Because without a clear and defined objective and key building blocks to guide your initiatives, generating meaningful employee engagement could be pretty difficult.

This is why we have written this series of articles going through our HR strategy triangle model, which highlights each of the stages to include within your strategy, as well as how to ensure they will work together to reach your main objective. And if that objective has anything to do with improving employee experience (EX), helping staff feel more engaged, increasing productivity or reducing churn, then make sure you include ways of working and structures as one of the pillars of your plan.

For some, this section of your HR strategy is merely about hygiene factors and could potentially generate less focus. Systems, processes, hierarchy, role descriptions… Got those covered right? Well, actually, having clear ways of working is about much more than covering the basics.

It’s about ensuring your organisation can help staff answer the age-old question ‘How do I get things done around here?’ For us at Let’s Talk Talent, that means being open and agile, reviewing your EX and moving away from static documentation to focus on honest conversations and regular feedback.

Clear ways of working and structure are also where your HR department comes into its own. As a function, you are likely to be the first port of call for staff experiencing various issues. You have valuable feedback from all levels of your talent pool and are able to set your department up in a way that drives forward the required change. Your HR department is in control of the balance between the structure of your team and the ecosystem of your organisation.

Seeing the need to move away from the traditional parent-child relationship towards a more autonomous culture? You have a role to play in introducing agility, simplifying processes and bringing in automation to free up employees’ time to focus on innovation. Need to move away from a matrix structure generating confusing reporting lines and unclear expectations? The various policies and initiatives you implement and your role in supporting the company’s objectives can play a crucial part. You hold the information on both current working practices and where you want to get them to. Or even what model is right for you. The ‘how to get there’ is going to be what your HR strategy is all about.

Reviewing employee experience

As part of her role in helping organisations revamp their HR strategies, our MD Jo has uncovered many 50-page documents encompassing everything from how to submit an expense claims to health and safety regulations. Whilst it’s great to have the information available, this may not be the most effective way to bring people up to speed on your ways of working.

The important thing to remember is to devise systems and processes that work for your very own organisational context, so make sure you ask questions, use internal feedback mechanisms and regularly review every single touchpoint in your employees’ lifecycle. Use a customer’s lens in order to create a seamless experience for your most important audience: your talent pool. Optimising their journey and reducing blockers will help them focus on what really matters to them and the company: performing well in the job they were hired to do.

Helping staff know where they fit in

Role clarity is also a crucial component of this strategic pillar. At Let’s Talk Talent, we don’t believe in putting people in boxes, which is why rigid job descriptions should be replaced by practical exercises such as STAR mapping, used to identify staff’s Skills, Attributes, Talents and Relationships. Getting to know your employees will allow you to maximise their skillset and tailor your expectations based on their particular aptitudes.

Your managers can play an important part in helping candidates understand where the gaps are, and which training might be needed for them to be able to both perform well in their current role and reach their next opportunity. Using the STAR model will help your talent pool gain clarity on which behaviours are both valued and expected of them within your organisation.

Measuring performance

Clarity should also cover how to measure and reward individual contributions. Having set KPIs and incorporating ways to review performance on a regular basis should form part of your new HR plan. After all, doing your job well is much more than punching a required number of hours on the clock or churning a set amount of work per day. It’s about people understanding what good looks like for you as an organisation and giving staff the freedom to innovate.


We know how daunting it can be to both create and operationalise a new HR strategy for your business. With many key areas requiring attention, from talent attraction to career development and succession planning, it can be hard to know what to start with and ways of working may not be the first item on your list. However, those who focus on giving staff clear KPIs and optimising systems, processes and structures will undoubtedly reap the benefits of a more engaged, motivated workforce. Just remember this strategic element isn’t about guidebooks, documents and putting people in set boxes. It’s about working with them to ensure a good match between their skillset and the role they are expected to do, and being agile enough to give them the right tools to do it well.

If you’d like additional support on this particular building block of your HR strategy or want to know how to get started on refreshing your current plan, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Or join our HR Strategy WhatsApp course, starting on 14th October.

Download our HR Strategy whitepaper

Create the perfect HR strategy for your business

Related HR Strategy Resources:

Comments are closed.