In a busy HR team, you’re forced to react to whatever your organisation throws your way. 

It can sometimes feel like things are out control, even when you’re doing your level best to keep things ticking over so the HR department’s impact can be felt across the organisation. 

Do you ever wonder if you’ll fall in love with HR again?

While there are some situations you can’t plan for in advance, what you can do is get your team working as effectively and proactively as possible so that they can mitigate issues straight away.

So, how do you motivate your team to be proactive when it comes to solving all those unpredictable issues that fall to the HR department to solve? 

There are five key strategies you can put into action that will encourage your team to take the initiative. 

By putting as many of these into action as you can, you’ll find yourself leading an HR team that is more agile in its ability to rise to new challenges and better able to see through projects that will really make a difference to your company in the long term.

Discover the five ways you can get your HR team to be more proactive today:

1. Give them responsibility to take ownership of issues

As an HR manager, you’ll know the importance of training, but it’s what follows that really matters. You need to give your team members the opportunity to put their training into practice.

Make sure you offer them the chance to reach successful conclusions under their own steam, because by allowing your team members a greater level of autonomy, you demonstrate your trust in them.

In return, you’ll get team members who feel valued, are more engaged and willing to think on their feet for the benefit of you and the company.

Read here the the 5 things that could be killing your HR team’s productivity.

2. Set out expectations

It’s so easy to feel you’ve communicated things effectively before the point of delivery, at which point it can all unravel before your eyes. 

When someone takes on instructions and gets it wrong because of poorly defined expectations, it’s extremely demotivating for everyone involved. 

That’s why expectations need to be abundantly clear. Make sure every member of your team always has specific goals to work to, with a clear order of priority and set deadlines. This way, miscommunications are far less likely to occur. 

With clear expectations on your side, you’ll be better able to keep your team ‘on task’ and prepared to take the initiative as they strive to achieve the goals set out before them. More than that, when they do get it right, it will be a huge morale boost that encourages them to work even more proactively.

3. Encourage ideas

Beyond just asking your team members to contribute ideas that could improve your way of working as and when they think of them, provide a specific forum through which they can speak up.

Whether this is a dedicated time to bring forward ideas in your team meetings, an ‘ideas’ thread on your internal messaging system or another method suited to your workplace, by actively setting the wheels of the idea machine into motion, you’re far more likely to get your team thinking. 

Once they’re thinking and they're engaged  particularly if the suggestions they put forward are seen to be appreciated they will approach each day with a more proactive mindset.  

4. Give them the opportunity to develop perspective

If your team members understand the wider impact the HR department has on your company beyond its day to day firefighting functions, you’ll have an incredibly motivated team on your hands.

For example, as part of letting your team members take ownership of their work, allowing them the opportunity to be in close proximity to your legal advisors will give them more context to the ER issues they're dealing with. 

Discover why now is the perfect time for your team to get closer to your employment lawyers here.

On top of boosting their professional development and self-confidence by showing them how to handle matters that touch upon employment law, this new level of context will allow them to develop a better perspective of the impact of their work. 

With a stronger grasp on the HR department’s significance, your team will naturally become more proactive. 

5. Deliver regular feedback

Setting aside a regular time to chat with each of your team members so you can talk through what they’ve been doing excellently and where their performance could improve is an unbeatable way of continually re-engaging them with their purpose in the team and keeping them in a proactive state of mind.

Being proactive is key to pushing forward with your team’s big goals, to getting past handling a barrage of everyday issues to a point where you can focus on making a real impact on your company.

When your team members are prepared to take the initiative and be proactive rather than just letting the work come to them, you have everything you need to be the driver of meaningful change in your organisation.

Discover more about how to keep your team in the best shape possible with the 7 skills every HR professional needs to make a lasting impact here.


We are the HR and employment law experts from esphr.

It’s our mission to advise and develop the employment law capability of HR professionals wherever we can, helping HR teams make a real commercial difference to their organisations. That way, you spend less time solving operational issues and more time actioning projects that drive far-reaching change in your company.

Call 0333 006 2929 or email today to discover exactly how we can help you.


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