Employees are a company’s greatest assets. That’s why businesses hire HR professionals to take care of employee needs, manage benefits and deal with any staff problems or concerns. Usually, HR staffers do a great job, but occasionally, they may display poor judgment, such as sharing or failing to follow up on complaints.
HR professionals may fall into the following 15 bad habits from time to time. By identifying these detrimental behaviors, you can hopefully work to eradicate them from your organization.
1. Gossip: HR staffers have access to a large amount of sensitive information, such as employee salaries, medical details and performance. Water cooler gossip on these subjects can not only hurt feelings, but also lead to legal action over privacy concerns. Imagine the uncomfortable situation that could arise if an employee’s co-workers learned that he or she was using the company’s benefits package to seek psychiatric treatment. Try to keep a tight grip on gossip by clearly spelling out the consequences of loose lips to the entire HR staff.
2. Unintended leaks of private information: Willfully spreading gossip is one thing, but there’s also the danger of unintentionally leaking information by talking loudly in close quarters, using the speakerphone during private discussions and forwarding emails containing sensitive information.
3. Failing to deliver clear salary, benefits and job information: HR professionals are on the front lines of acclimating new employees, so when they drop the ball on delivering pertinent job-related information, it can spell trouble down the road. Employees may be confused about their benefits and job expectations, which can be harmful for both the employees and their managers.
4. Weak hiring practices: Failing to perform a thorough analysis of a job and its requirements can lead to bad hires, which can cost a company serious money. Make sure that each open position is thoroughly researched and that managers provide input as to what skills are required in order for the new hire to succeed.
5. Forgetting to follow up: HR staffers are often inundated with requests for benefits changes, procedure documentation and training, among other tasks. With so many responsibilities, it’s easy to lose track of individual employee requests and complaints or forget to follow up withinterviewees who didn’t get a job. However, all of these seemingly small tasks can be very important to employees and potential hires and should be prioritized.
6. Lack of recognition and rewards: Your company has laid out myriadrules and procedures, but what about the rewards? Employees need to be recognized for a job well done, so work with managers to set up a reward system if there is not one in place already.
7. Not creating clear and thorough policies: Perhaps your company has a reward system but lacks clear policies. Without public – and better yet, published – procedures in place, HR professionals face many more questions and misunderstandings than they otherwise might.
8. Too many rules: Is your team busy writing up policies and procedures for every possible contingency? Too many rules can make employees feel restricted and can also stifle creative solutions and suggestions.
9. Failing to confront rule breakers and unproductive employees: While it’s important to have some basic procedural and behavioral policies in place, they are of little use if unenforced. Take evaluations and reported complaints seriously and follow up with employees who habitually cross the line.
10. Playing referee: If there’s a problem between an employee and a manager or a dispute between two employees, the ideal solution is for them to resolve it themselves. HR professionals can help facilitatecommunications, but they should not attempt to play referee between the two sides. If the parties cannot resolve their differences among themselves, sit everyone down together to help resolve the issue.
11. Not trusting employees: An atmosphere of suspicion can make individual employees and entire teams nervous, and eventually, they will stop trusting the company. Therefore, HR staffers should avoid excessive monitoring.
12. Not applying policies to your own team: HR departments spend most of their time making sure that the needs of employees and managers are met, but they sometimes forget to follow their own policies, especially when it comes to reviews.
13. Delivering bad news via email: Working in HR is not always fun, since you sometimes may have to lay off employees or deliver other bad news. As uncomfortable as this situation may be, make sure that you talk to the affected employees in person so that you can show empathy and answer any questions that they might have. This will also foster an atmosphere of transparency, which can help create a mutually respectful environment between HR and other departments.
14. Playing favorites: It may be tempting to put someone you personally like on the top of the pile for a promotion or new position, but favors such as these are unfair to other candidates. Also, if your biases ever become common company knowledge, your professional reputation will very likely be at risk.
15. Excessive or inappropriate joking: Whether you like it or not, the fact of the matter is that HR professionals are seen as role models for how other employees should behave. Making an off-color joke or dallying excessively can dilute the HR department’s image.
Once HR professionals know what habits they should avoid, they can focus on their core responsibilities and their own personal strengths. After all, if each member of the HR department concentrates on doing what he or she does best, the entire company wins.