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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

8 common mistakes most of HR Professionals make!!

Not knowing about law and rules / regulations set by Government 

It is very important for all of us to have knowledge of laws and rules / regulation set by government i.e. Central and State Governments. These are the basics when it comes to articulate policies of your company for human resources. You cannot make any policy which is inferior than set rules and regulation by government.

For example, you cannot give less leaves than prescribed by state government. There is no restriction on giving more. So if you are not aware about leave entitlement set by government which means you are setting a wrong policy which is not accepted.

Copy paste of policies and procedures

Well, everybody used to made this mistake myself at early stage of their careers. It was due to my impatience to implement so many HR things without understanding my company needs. Such implementations do not benefit organization and at end, it is waste of time and money. So it is very important to understand your company and then make policies and procedures. There is no harm in referring policies and procedures set in other companies but do not simply copy and paste them. Better tailor made them for your company requirement. For example, you have to work on building matured performance management system in your company but there are majority of employees are workers and the procedure you choose is best suited for executives and above then it will not benefit company and employees. In fact, it will make situation worse.

Also be careful when you are making policies of company. You should think 360 degree before you submit it for final approval to management.  You should also know Do’s and Don’t while making or reviewing Company HR Policies

Not giving due importance to informal communication channel

We all know, what is formal way of communication? It is in form of written material which is available as hard copy, soft copy or on company web. These are approved and well known to all. We as HR, keeps sending formal communications to employees, by way of circular and email. But informal communication channel is more effective than our formal communication channel. As HR, we should know how to make best use of this channel? If you are leading a HR department, you cannot be present at every place to know what are the informal talks going on?

Here role of each HR team member is very important to keep interacting with employees and communicate such grievances and information to concern team member in HR. If you as HR, exercise this sort of practices, you will see a drastic dip in your formal grievance registered by employees and increase in satisfaction level of employees from HR department.

You can also use informal communication channel to understand usefulness of any change in policy which you have made recently, happiness of employees from recent appraisals etc.

Not communicating quicker
One of biggest mistake you can make as HR, when you don’t communicate with employee or delay in your communication. If an employee has sent you a request for advance approval and you have not taken action on it for another two days, then there are high chances of this being an escalation and later on you will spend a lot of your time managing such escalations.

There could be two types of requests which will come to you and my views on how do you handle it.

Normal Requests where we have the information: Request like demand of salary slip, leave balance, information on any policy etc are some of the requests which are well known or we have information available. In such cases there should be no reason why we should not reply to such request immediately? Hence do so. In case you receive any request, which are not concerned with you, you can forward that request to concern person in your HR team or other department cc to employee, so that employee should know that his request has been sent to concern person and in future he can direct such request to correct HR representative or representative of any other department to get immediate response.

Request where you need further discussion or approval: In case, you come across a request where current policies are not clear or you need to take further approval, you should do it and inform employee about the timelines to get back. Lead the discussion and inform employee about the final outcome. Don’t leave it unattended.

Taking data management lightly / automation

Never ever take your data management lightly. This is true for every department including HR. If you don’t maintain your data in proper way then you will not be able to answer employee / management queries properly. You will take more time to analyze the data and take decision basis on such analysis. Also it is important that only one person should be responsible for one data point.

Example, one employee should be responsible for employee master maintenance and any modification, addition or deletion should be made by that employee only. In case any other HR team member come to know about anything which also require changes in employee master then it should be communicated to employee managing employee master. This employee should circulate employee master to all the concerned team members. This way there will be very less chances of missing any information and correctness of data will be more accurate.

Managing records also one of part of managing your data. If you don’t manage personnel file of employees in better way then you will not have record when you need it for taking any action. So better ensure that records are managed well in time and not asked when you need it.

Automation can be a great help when it comes to managing HR operations. It can also take care of your data management part. Automation sound easy but it is one of toughest job. Once implemented successfully it gives huge benefits in all respects.

Exercising employee engagement activities without understanding impact of it

Well employee engagement is one of the most exciting things for HR professional but un fortunately, we exercise employee engagement activities without understanding impact of it. In early stage of my career, I use to think that fun activities on floor are employee engagement activities. May be most of us still thinks so.

Employee engagement is not about fun activities, trip for employees etc, but is way ahead than this. Employee engagement means engaging employee with company and merely some fun activities will not be able to do so. It can be a part of employee engagement activity but not all.

Most of employee leaves company for better pay package hence as HR, we should always do internal and external salary benchmarks.

To ensure no difference between salaries of employee working on same profile and level, internal salary benchmark can be exercised. Also to understand that employees working on various profiles are being paid as per industry, HR can perform external salary benchmark. Now we know what could be impact of such exercises and what we want to achieve out of it. In this case, it makes sense and will help to achieve employee engagement.

Similarly, other steps can be taken to ensure employees are happy with organization culture, there is no or less conflict between employee and superior, career path for employees, ample opportunities to learn etc.

Doing training for sake of doing it

Still a lot is to be learned in this segment by HR professionals. Many of us still do training for sake of doing training without understanding whether these training programs are helping us in any way?

We make training calendar in the starting of the year and try to ensure that training mentioned in the calendar get executed. We take feedback from participants and some time from trainer, do some paperwork and close our files. We even don’t bother to understand whether a particular training program made any difference or we just wasted our time on it including trainer and participants. Hence we should learn ways to make effective training calendar, identifying training needs of company, better ways to execute training so that learning is more and ways to evaluate ROI (Return on Investment) of training programs executed.

Do not know about various business segments of organization

Now days, companies are into diverse product and services. Companies are spreading their wings to exposure new market and enter into new product and services. Hence we also need to explore ourselves to know about each and every business vertical we have. In absence of understanding a department or business unit, we will not be able to contribute fully. We will make mistakes during recruitment, performance management, framing policy etc, if we are not aware about business model and various profiles which are required to run this business model. Hence, we need to spend adequate time to know about functioning of our various departments and business units, the way we do to learn about HR. Then only you will be able to align HR practices to business growth and be partner to success of company.

I am sure there are many other mistakes which we can think of and made in our career. Please do share with all of us such experience and opinion.

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