I often find the same problems in most of the companies I work with; and they are often very easily rectified. Here are my top three common HR mistakes, and what you can do as a manager to make sure they don’t apply to you!
1. Missing out on expert advice
In my experience, HR managers often feel they have to deal with situations themselves and miss out on valuable advice, particularly with regards to Occupational Health. You don’t know how much you can pry into the details of an employee’s illness, for example, and therefore you can be guilty of letting the problem get out of hand. Making the wrong call can be an expensive one, increasing the risk of a tribunal claim.
Securing the right HR, legal or medical advice at the right point not only helps you, but referring someone to an expert can also nudge the employee themselves into action.
2. Avoiding difficult performance conversations
People often contact me first and don’t speak to the employee themselves. You need to stop being kind and manage the situation.
Not talking about your concerns with an employee early enough, or with enough authority, can lead to more problems later. This can also seriously impact on your credibility within the business. Your team will get fed up of carrying an employee who isn’t performing as well – and you will get the blame. You need to manage your credibility as well as the employees within your team.
3. Brushing off Banter
This can be something as innocent as a Birthday or Retirement card, but it still has the potential to offend. Comments about peoples’ ages, mentioning that it’s time to retire, sexual innuendo, and so on; may be intended to amuse or provide a bit of light hearted entertainment but you must make your staff aware that even the simplest things can often cause offence in the workplace. I had an example of this recently with a simple retirement card. Comments that were made in jest actually caused the employee offence.
You need to be aware of the implications of workplace banter and put training in place so your staff are aware too. Banter can very easily turn into harassment.
If any of these apply to you (and I’m sure that they will) talk to me today to make sure the policies, procedures and training are put in place so they don’t result in increase costs and issues further down the line.
For more on common HR mistakes, read this article from the CIPD