Here are the Top Five Things HR Professionals Should Avoid
A well-run Human Resources department can be a key factor in the success of your business, but HR teams can find it difficult to navigate the space of supporting employees and the company when issues arise. Here are 5 things HR should avoid:
Creating and keeping the employee handbook up to date is well within the scope of HR duties, but many HR departments make the mistake of becoming enforcers of company policy. This can create unnecessary adversarial relationships between HR personnel and other employees. Instead of being on the watch for dress code or behavior violations, or even having employees sent to HR for discipline, empower people managers to address the issues with their teams, and be available to lend support when needed. Provide training and resources for managers to manage their own teams unless legal issues are involved.
Creating traditions around holidays and milestones is a good way to boost morale and unify your organization’s different teams. Too often, HR personnel take on all the work of planning and executing celebratory events for the organization. Not only is this unnecessary, but it can divert too many resources away from the HR team’s stated goals. Additionally, it might be more difficult to create an inclusive and positive atmosphere when HR drives all the celebrations. Instead, work to create policies and provide budget information and other support, but leave the planning and executing of events to others in the company, and delegate where it is appropriate to do so.
Becoming an Obstacle
Supporting employees and serving as a representative of the company requires a fine balance. Never allow yourself (or your department) to become, or be perceived as an obstacle other employees need to dodge or fight against in order to do their work effectively. Your focus must be on enabling excellence and positivity, rather than simply providing barriers. Act as a guide in navigating conflict and difficult issues.
Lead the way in creating a culture of professionalism in your organization. Do not gossip, ask personal questions in interviews, or focus too much on being likable and friendly. Your position is difficult—do not complicate things by engaging in conversation that could lead to breaches of confidentiality or even inappropriate or illegal questioning. Also, make efforts not to become the place everyone comes to for airing grievances. It is definitely valuable to be available for staff concerns, but you can support your organization better if you keep your focus on HR-related subjects.
Make sure to keep track of regulations with regards to time off, compensation, and benefits. Focus recruiting efforts with procedures that follow all laws and compliance requirements. Maintain consistent policies, keep track of all required documentation, and be upfront and honest about what information is required to be kept confidential and what is not. Do not delay investigating claims of discrimination or harassment. Make sure employees’ classification is correct and does not involve wage-law violation. Provide compliance and safety training, and update yourself on any regulatory changes.