Human resources are one of the most essential departments of any modern organization. Taking care of and picking the right employee is the most important factor of any successful business. It is no easy task and it means that human resources professionals need to communicate, understand, connect and collaborate with various different types of people. It is a large responsibility along with processing payrolls, recruitment, etc. That being said, human resources do make their share of mistakes, and they do not come cheap. Regulations are increasing the complexity and the price of them. HR is often one broken law away from a major fine or a misunderstood policy from a lawsuit. Here are some of the most common mistakes made by the human resources departments.
#1. Harassment and discrimination policies
The importance of proper training cannot be overstated. It is a form of an investment, both in our employees and in extension, the company.
The best starting point can be the very start itself. When accepting a new employee, policies about this subject need to be clearly defined and laid out.
This means certain behaviors are expected while others fall under the zero-tolerance policy. Companies often neglect this subject which can lead to grave consequences later down the line.
Not only will such behavior create a very toxic working environment but can, therefore, result in lawsuits that can damage the entire company.
#2. Confidential information
There is always certain information that is on a need to know basis. Whether it be intellectual property, company secrets or a simple administrator password, these pieces of information need to remain hidden from the wider audience.
Handling sensitive data is one of HR’s biggest responsibilities and it is not to be taken lightly. Understanding who needs to know what is a complex task and it only grows bigger relative to the expansion of the company itself.
It is important that this task is done right the first time as it can lead to mistakes that people and companies can hardly recover from.
#3. The human factor
We live in an increasingly computerized and automated world. This goes for the working environment as well as people since everyone is increasingly relying on technology to handle data and processes. Companies tend to get lost in this aspect and forget about empathy and critical thinking which are to most important factors for HR when dealing with people.
Employees are a lot more than a number on a spreadsheet column or a resource for a company to extract. These two aspects can be neatly combined as we can always be objective in our decision-making while knowing our people deeply.
Understanding employee’s true motivations and worries will help us understand how to create a better environment for everyone. It is not difficult to make this a reality. All we have to do is get up, walk around the office a little and be present with the people we work with. It will break the stereotype that HR is all about supervising and studying people.
The truth is, we are all working on the same tasks with common goals in mind. If we are experiencing problems with approaching our employees, there are plenty of professionals that can help us do so like the Standard Candle.
#4. Different solutions for different situations
Running a successful human resources department can be a science and an art form. It does require experience and knowledge but also street-smarts and understanding of people and their ways.
Some rules are set in stone and need to be followed, no questions asked. But for most of the time, the optimal solution to a problem can vary depending on a multitude of factors. It can depend on the situation, context, organization, industry, goals and most importantly, people.
There are rarely textbooks, one-size-fits-all answers in the real world. Using them certainly does not imply a proper and successful HR department. Especially new and young professionals fall into the trap of thinking that the world is black and white with no shades of gray in between.
There is no binary answer to anything in life. Contrary to popular belief, HR is not solely about knowing the right answer. It is about learning and finding new ones, custom-tailored for the situation and people in question.
As we mature personally and professionally, we come to understand that it is impossible to know everything. The best HR can do is ask the right questions, listen deeply and learn from all the victories and defeats alike.