Five of the best HR ideas every business should adopt

Tracey Porter

Good business owners know the key to their success lies in the way they treat their staff.

Yet while remuneration is an important platform, it's but one small component of showing your employees how much you value them.

Here’s how innovative employers around the world are leading the charge when it comes to securing loyal staff.

The shortened workday

Sweden, a country well regarded for its progressive attitude, has set a new standard for workplaces by introducing a six hour work day.

While this dramatic departure from the norm came with its fair share of issues, the cut in working hours has resulted in meeting times being kept to a minimum, and some industries that require staff outside of normal business hours have hired additional team members. In addition, many employers now judge performance on project completion rather than hours worked.

Where pats on the back are encouraged

Australian software company Atlassian, the reigning champion of the BRW Great Places to Work competition, knows how to get off on the right foot with all staff members.

All new recruits receive a travel voucher to have some R&R before their new job commences, and the company has also set up a communications platform encouraging all staff to give their colleagues “Kudos” for a job well done. The employees singled out then receives gifts and hand written notes in reward. Additional incentives include more annual leave and holiday leave for long-serving workers.

The no-expense spared expense policy

It was while she was at global entertainment company Netflix that Patty McCord cemented her reputation as one of the architects of modern company culture.

A former chief talent officer at the company, McCord was responsible for Netflix departing from a formal travel and expense policy.

Eliminating a formal policy and forgoing expense account police shifted responsibility to frontline managers and reduced costs, with many staff electing to dispense with corporate travel companies in favour of booking their own business trips online.

No one could ever accuse British entrepreneur Richard Branson of being backward when it comes to putting himself forward.

Unlimited annual leave

No one could ever accuse British entrepreneur Richard Branson of being backward when it comes to putting himself forward. Now he has taken the same approach with his team by offering his personal staff unlimited holidays.

The policy affects close to 200 staff at the Virgin Group’s head offices in the US and UK, and means those selected do not need to ask for approval to take time off, while their managers are not required to keep track of their days out of the office. If successful, Branson says he’ll encourage Virgin subsidiaries to roll out the policy as well.

The year of you

Media agency UM Australia has designated 2015 as “The Year of You” as a way of empowering staff members to dream big as well as understand that they are central to the agency’s success.

In 2014, it introduced the Goodness initiative, which sees teams take a day out every quarter to deliver “goodness” to the local community. In addition, each staff member is issued with a Goodness Card for use at a local café and a drinks card for use at the local bar. To further encourage staff, it also gives outstanding employees Superstar Awards. The winners have a star named after them through the International Star Registry, they are given official certificates with the co-ordinates of their stars, trophies, and a donation of $200 is made to a charity of their choice.

Tracey Porter

Tracey Porter is a career journalist whose mug shot appears everywhere from daily newspapers and online news sites to business and consumer magazine titles.

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