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Readers Respond: Share the Biggest, Baddest, Most Common Mistakes You've Seen

Responses: 20

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Everyone who works in Human Resources makes mistakes at one point or another in their HR practices. I'm not sure I've ever dealt with an HR question that didn't involve mistakes in HR practices. Common mistakes, too, since they cross my desk repeatedly. Between changes in employment law, supporting company initiatives, and walking the fine line between management and employee advocacy, HR practices are always on the front line. What are common mistakes you've seen HR departments make? Share the biggest, baddest, most common mistakes you've seen. Share Your Experience

It's too bad

It's a norm in some countries for management to sideline HR practitioners and only involve them when things turn to worst. Recently, we had a disciplinary case which was badly coordinated from start to finish, but I'll be there to clean up. (Unfortunately, pretty universal, in all countries where HR is not involved from the beginning.)
—Guest M Lesotho

HR Manager One Day - Hope

I am an Indian and working with an MNC in an HR Department where there is, as such, no HR Department. I find it very impressive to take an intitiative from time to time and fight to implement it. But, sometimes I observe that some of my seniors are not very happy with this and point out to me not to intitiate and that these are the barriers in my career. It causes the delay in the intitiatives also. I also noticed that when any bad thing occurs, HR will be responsible. Why I do not know. But, I am ready to fight with them. I am optimistic that I will be HR Manager one day. I have the same spirit to prove me as Manager - HR. Never Ever GIve up.
—Guest Rashi Chand

Being transactionally-focused

HR is still, at 99.999% of companies, transactionally-focused rather than being strategically focused. With mandates like Obamacare kicking in 1/1/12, the days of HR being a siloed function have to be over. HR needs to start thinking bigger picture and strategically evaluate workforce trends on topics such as compensation, turnover, overtime, benefits, performance and other key components of workforce management. To that end, business leaders need to apply similar controls and metrics, and the same standards of data transparency, procedural integrity and risk management, to the HR function as they do to Operations, Finance and others. Executives should correlate financial measures with key workforce metrics such as revenue per employee, contribution per headcount, and return on human capital to determine HR‘s strategic value. That way, the mindset shift to strategic thinking will be a push from above, because there’s no way HR will change by themselves.
—Guest visitor

HR Own Rights

One of the biggest problems I see in many businesses is that anybody is becoming HR Manager, without any education or even experience, only reading a couple of books about HR. This is not enough, in my opinion. Some take it more to the extreme. After a couple of first times being an HR Manager, they begin to call him/herself SENIOR HR manager or practitioner or even Consultant!!!
—Guest Sam

Long Working Hours

I didn't do any mistakes, but I'm working 11 hours. This is ridiculous. The government has to take action on it.
—Guest aamna

Hiring Unqualified "HR" Personnel

In addition to my f/t job as HR Director, I also work p/t in retail. The major department store I work at recently downsized the store secretary and HR assistant. In their place they "promoted" sales associates with no prior HR experience or knowledge and gave them the title of HR Assistants. Don't ask me how this store downsized one HR Assistant then replaced the position with four more with the same title. But, so far there's been a breach of employee confidentiality, employee information divulged, lack of trust and the lack of HR assistance is ridiculous. This was the biggest mistake this major retailer could have made. I'm just sitting back waiting on a lawsuit to be filed.
—RhondaJordan

HR Misconception

I'm currently working as an HR Manager here in Phils. This is the first time that the company that I work for hired one who will oversee their HR functions. Thus, the employees here have a misconception that the HR always issues memos and more often than not would be on the management's side. This is not true, since we the HR practitioner, would make sure that we are in the middle ready to meddle in everything.
—Guest jiji

HR Is One-Sided

Only the youngest and most naive employees consider HR an ally or advocate. HR people are always in cahoots with management, who pays their salary and gives them their marching orders.
—Allura

Bad Company

I work HR at a large company. We are an at will employer. There have been some problems with staff and we try to work with them to correct the problem. We have to doccument all verbal conversations as warnings, we try to allow two, then we will issue up to three written reprimands before we terminate an employee. One employee had complained to upper management about a problem and that no one would help him find the right people to talk to. I was instructed to write this employee up and terminate him after his second write up. He never received any previous reprimands. Several reasons for his termination were incorrect and border on illegal. Now this employee, who was terminated, has been unemployed for some time now. If we are an at will employer, why do we have to have a reason for his termination. Can't we just tell them we no longer need their services? HR has become so politically correct that companies are losing their best talent for policies and egos that are just flat out wrong.
—Robyn.Anderson

PAYROLL MISTAKE

In my years of HR practice, the baddest error that happened was when my assistant mistakenly sent payroll details to "All Staff". My name starts with "Al" and I am sure she did not pause to be sure before she sent it. It was hell in the organisation and it took us forever to sort it out. I cant go into details here.
—Quuqu

HR Manager One Day - Hope

I am an Indian and working with a MNC in an HR Department where there is as such no HR Department. I find it very impressive to take the intitiatives from time to time and fight to implement it. But sometimes I observe that some of my seniors are not very happy with this and point out to me not to intitiate and that these are the barriers in my career. It causes the delay in the intitiatives also. I also noticed that when any bad thing occurs, HR will be responsible. Why I do not know. But I am ready to fight with them. I am optimistic that I will be HR Manager one day. Thanks
—Guest Riya

Inappropriate Job Descriptions

The job description prepared where I am working forces the worker to be at work more than 8 hours which is unacceptable by local or international law. The management expects all jobs done but never realizes that the workers are to do it / them outside of the normal working hours. This leads to frustration of the manpower.
—Guest Bahiru

Lack of Manpower Plans

In many organizations that I worked for, there is a lack of understanding of the need for manpower plans to guide hiring. Even when there are plans, they are not based on any methodical work load analysis. The result is either an under-staffed department or an over staffed one. Hiring depends on the power of the manager to get more positions for her/his department.
—Guest Mahjoub

Not What You Know, but Who You Know...

It has been a practice with our government to hire based on who you know, but not on what you know. It is a sorry case because most positions are filled with people with no qualifications.
—Guest Alfie

Interviewing Unqualified Candidates

A problem I have with some of the HR actions that took place prior to my being hired is that candidates were being interviewed, and sometimes hired, for positions that they weren't qualified for in the first place. Then everyone acted surprised that the employee didn't work out (either quit or was terminated).
—sbkeller

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