The Art of Simplifying HR

The daily responsibilities for today’s HR professionals reads like a grocery list for a family of 10 who hasn’t been to the store in 2 months. Recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, assimilation, and retention are the larger points to the iceberg of the underlying responsibility in each area. HR has to make sure that all federal, state, and local laws meet compliance, while also making sure that each employee has what she needs to be successful on the job. Throw in the need to protect the culture and people with programs like sexual harassment training, along with tracking PTO, FMLA, license and credential management, I-9 forms, benefits administration, and…need I continue?

Whew, let’s take a deep breathe. The list of things to oversee as an HR pro gets exhausting just reading and thinking about it, let alone actually doing it. So with so much that could keep you awake and overthinking, here are some ways to simply…Simplify HR.


It’s all the rage, and all the cool HR kids are doing it. No, but seriously, leveraging automation in your business is one of the most effective ways to simplify HR. The spectrum of artificial intelligence available in the form of HR Tech allows for very specific solutions to your challenges. Intelligent robots work, while you’re doing the things only humans can do. They can communicate for you, pushing content to those who need it, and they can assure that the process is followed from start to finish with consistency and compliance.

Here are just a few things you can automate:

  • Onboarding and Orientation
  • Workplace Safety and Training
  • Work Authorization and Visa Management
  • FMLA Tracking and Compliance
  • License and Credential Management
  • Benefits Administration
  • Conduct Policy Compliance

Automating these processes takes some time and investment on the front end, but the outcome is well worth the investment, as it helps you get more work down with less effort.


With so many decisions needing to be made, it can become difficult to give every decision the time it needs. When someone presents an HR related issue to you, acknowledge their challenge and listen to their proposed solutions. If they’re not bringing a potential solution, ask them to come back with an option or two. After you’ve heard their option, provide them with one or two of your own, then let them choose! By doing this, you give your employee input to help guide them, but then you empower them by letting them choose their solution.

How does this simplify HR?

  • It takes the pressure off of you to come up with every solution and answer to a challenge.
  • It trains your workforce to be solution oriented, adding tremendous value and potential answers that you did not see to the challenges your company faces.
  • It gives employees an opportunity to be invested in the future of the company.


Sometimes in the grind of the day-to-day operations of business, we feel like we have to perfectly nail the decisions with which we’re faced. What actually ends up happening is that we spend so much time on one decision, that we get stuck, overthinking, and trying to really understand all of the potential consequences that will come out of the decision.

The reality is that we never really understand the implications of a decision until it’s made. That’s not to say we shouldn’t strategize or consider possible outcomes, but all too often, we spend way too much time mulling over possibilities, and it ends up putting us behind on other decisions that need to be made, as well as keeping us stuck.

Just like giving your people options is empowering and simplifies your HR world, so does giving people the opportunity to win and lose. You see, it’s one thing to give them options, and then as soon as you see them failing, you try to jump in and keep them from losing. This only complicates matters, and it teaches your employees that you don’t trust them to work things out, and it also teaches them to look for you to bail them out when challenges come. Let’s face it, this is a tempting trap to fall into when you think about job security.

As an HR professional, you have a heart for people, you want to see them succeed, and you also want to help your company be productive and profitable. It’s easier to jump in and remove all risk from the decisions of your employees, instead of letting some things play out to their conclusion.

While there are things like compliance regulations that simply cannot fall through the cracks, there are many other mistakes from which we can recover.

Thomas John Watson Sr. – the former CEO of International Business Machines once spoke on a situation in which one of his employees had made a mistake. “Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. “No”, I replied. “I just spent $600,000 training him – why would I want somebody to hire his experience?”

These are just a few ways to simplify the wild world of today’s HR. One of them is a practical method of dealing with your processes that frees you up to do the things that are most important to the development of your people. The others are mentalities, mindsets, and techniques that will empower your people, and help you build a vibrant and engaged workforce.

Maybe it’s time to simplify…