5 HR Blunders, and Some Solutions

December 8, 2014
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Not blunders, really – just things that you might do better that would help employees and make your job less stressful and harried.

The accounting department has its numbers. IT knows when it’s solved a problem. Your sales division has quotas, and the purchasing people buy what needs to be bought.

MST blog 1st December image 1But you’re in human resources, where your focus is people. Their problems can’t be solved by adding a column to a spreadsheet or replacing a network router.

You have volumes of laws and other regulations that you must follow that are – usually – clear cut. But employees are not as neat and predictable as the entities other departments manage. You’re forced to deal with gray areas and new issues daily. It’s not surprising that it’s hard for you to keep up, let alone get ahead.

This being the beginning of a new year, you might look at your department’s overall proficiency. Do any of these hit home?

  • Unclear or incomplete HR policies. You probably know what happens when this occurs. An employee quits or is terminated, and no one is clear on whether he or she gets paid for unused vacation. It’s difficult to envision every possible scenario that could cause an employee to challenge company policy, but it’s important to make those policy documents as airtight as is possible. If you’re in an HR networking group (and these days, everyone should be), look for opportunities to learn from other professionals.
  • An obsolete employee handbook. Those company policies need to be communicated clearly to employees, but it would be a logistical nightmare to send out updated paper copies every time there’s a change. Your employee handbook really should be online, easy to update and easy for employees to consult for the most current policies.
  • MST blog 1st December image 2A backlog of unread government regulations. You know all the acronyms. ADA. COBRA. DOL. EAP. EEOC. FLSA. The list continues through the entire alphabet. The internet has changed the work culture in countless ways, and one involves your employees: They know how to do research on their workplace rights. Are they keeping up better than you? Re-evaluate your information management system so you can put your hands on any regulatory content quickly.
  • Inadequate – or non-existent – training programs. Your employees may groan, but major new directives from the government need to be addressed head-on with company-wide meetings. New computer technology, a new phone system, a major change in the workflow, etc., all deserve instructional sessions.
  • MST blog 1st December image 3Lack of performance plans in employee reviews. Every manager who does employee evaluations needs to provide –and document well — paths to improvement. Employees must understand what’s expected of them, and your managers need concrete assessment criteria as they determine each employee’s current performance and future prospects.

If any of these problems exist in your HR department, you probably know they can lead to late nights, endless meetings, and poor relationships with employees, managers, and government agencies. Make 2015 the year you right the ship.

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