Mistakes that HR makes

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1. Hiring People Just Like Yourself
This one is an easy one to be guilty of and many often do not realise that they are doing it. Some even may not find anything wrong with this practice. However, we feel that this practice is flawed.

When hiring, companies want the best they can get, and putting together the best possible team is the surest way to success. However, to build the best team, having a team of clones is not the way to go.

Consider this: If you had a team that is made up of high-achieving individuals that all think and react to situations the same way, what then, is the value? Sure, they are more likely to be great at accomplishing a limited set of things, but as situation changes, are they able to think out of the box? Especially after they have adhered to a particular way?

Think about a sporting team, if every player was a goal scorer, will there be players that can perform defensively? So, what is more crucial, is that the team complements each other. They should bring to the table different skills, perceptions and a desire to deliver the results wanted.

More on this topic here

2. Treat departing employees badly
Have you treated someone who resigned like a social pariah? Or have you seen this happen before? Perhaps you have been on the receiving end?

This situation sets up the company for negativity; which affects existing employees’ morale or even outside perceptions of the company:

  1. Existing employees will likely start to wonder; “what if that was me” or “they are just trying to make themselves look/feel good”. Whatever they might whisper among themselves is almost always a negative reaction to the management.
  2. Stories will be shared, be the person who has left or those remaining, with others outside of the company. From these stories, impressions of how the company treats it employees will be developed. Whether or not your company is an “employer of choice” or “a bad place to work at”, all comes from these impressions.

Always remember, people will talk. One occurrence is an anomaly, but when too many people are saying the same thing, you have a reputation. That reputation is also a part of your company’s brand.

The same can be said of employees that are fired as well. Of course, if the employee screwed up so badly, they should be fired. How you manage the process will make a difference, it gives confidence to existing employees and tell others that your company is professional.

Look at why you should cheer when employees leave.

3. Not engaging employees
Employee engagement is a wide-ranging topic and tricky to discuss. However, there are 2 fundamental areas to take note of: Praise and Criticism. Although this seems to be obvious, failure to do so is costly for all companies.

Praise is a basic motivator; we all know that. All people, young or old, respond to praises. However, be wary of giving knee-jerk praises. Saying things like “Good job!” (and other variants such as “Way to go,” “Nice job,” and “That’s great”) have become knee-jerk reactions to something worthy of acknowledgment. This is not the way to go.

Let’s start with the purpose of praise: to encourage positive behaviours that produce positive outcomes. To encourage a behaviour, it needs specificity. Clear indicators on what was done well and why.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, criticism (constructive ones), is another powerful tool. This allows companies to express to employees, the areas that are lacking and what can be done about it. This feedback process should be kept open and as a 2-way conversation. And like praise, it should be specific as well.

Read more about positive criticism.

4. Poor Appraisal Processes
The way organisations manage this process vary from one to another. However, some simple truths are held in common by all those that do it well. To begin, we must understand what appraisals for.

It is neither just for the purpose of pay increment discussions, nor is it a time just for companies to weed out poor performers. It is an opportunity for discovering how the company can progress and what the employees can do to add value. It should not be a once-a-year affair as well.

So for this process to be successful, some practices must be put in place:

  • Establishing clear goals with the input from the employees
  • Helping employees discover and own their goals
  • Developing a culture of open communication and feedback
  • Discussing performance regularly
  • Enabling the process with tools and technology
  • Reviewing and resetting goals as the situation progresses

As HR folk, we have to believe that employees have an idea of their own performance, strengths and weakness and have a want to do well. The question then, is how we can enable them to better themselves, perform well and deliver more value to the organisation.

Read more about performance appraisals here.


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