At Work: Human resources - My top tips - Deborah Jeffries, HR manager, Motability Operations

Be as clear as possible with your staff

We had to cut the number of staff we employed - when we knew what we were going to do, everyone was told immediately and there was absolute clarity over what was going to be happening. We were very honest with everyone about how the organisation needed to change. Change is never easy. But people who had to leave the organisation left well because we equipped our leaders with the skills to have tough conversations.

Put the right people in place

If you get this right, half your job is done. We've really worked at this. We're competing for a highly commercial skill set, so we're prepared to reward and offer good packages to the right people. If you've got the right people with the right values, you just have to set them off in the right direction. This applies to your leaders in particular.When you've got people with the skills you need, your job is to give them responsibility and autonomy with guidance.

Get a good leader

It's amazing the difference good leaders make. They should be happy to take responsibility, and keen to have autonomy and make things happen. If people are engaged with their leader and the leader respects them, then your organisation has an excellence chance of being successful. A leader should involve staff and have an interest in them, want to communicate with them, give them feedback and see performance management not just as a process, but as working with the team.

Focus on things you want to excel at

We focus on two or three things we want to be outstanding at. Everything else we still want to do well, but we focus our energy so we can deliver on what is important. The same goes for HR - try to focus on the things that will make the difference to your employees, or you could be running around doing lots of things but not making a difference.

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