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

Responses: 28


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

HR Joke

I do not sympathize with any member of HR. HR representatives get a bad reputation because they ARE bad in the sense of morality, obligation, and family life. (On a side-note, if an employee makes a mistake they are held accountable immediately. If HR makes a mistake it takes months to resolve and they do not care how long it takes to resolve. How is this fair? Are they not employees themselves and should they not be held to the same standard as other employees?)
—Guest Anonymous

Totally New at this HR job

This my first ever experience with this line of work, I am struggling a little as I have no idea what I am doing. I am great with people and all and that is how I was hand picked for this role, please help..am beginning to feel I have made a big mistake in leaving my old job. (This whole website is here to help you. Search for whatever you need.)
—Guest Sorovi Tamani

Our HR guy

I work at an organization that, after having grown over the last few years, is a big company that still acts like a small company. There is one human resource manager, but he is also the "director of administration" in charge of accounting and finances, which makes him a department head with close ties to the president of the company. He also plays golf with my supervisor. I met with him once to discuss my unhappiness, sparked by discontent with a disciplinary decision handed down against me - halfway through the meeting I realized I was not talking to an HR manager, I was talking to a department head - I was not venting to an employee advocate, I was venting to my supervisor's good friend. This was based on the defensive nature of his responses, where I felt he should have advocated my wellbeing as an employee. In addition, almost everyone at this company is unhappy, and because this guy's job is split between two different titles, there is nobody paying attention to us.
—Guest Martin

Response to Robyn.Anderson of Bad Campan

How long have you been working HR? There are many reasons to document terminations, and they have nothing to do with political correctness. For one, you want a history of your actions for the education of those who come after you. Another major reason, even for at-will employers (which is no big deal, btw - most employers are), is that while you may not need to justify a discharge, you may have to defend it in court - there are several reasons for which it is illegal to discharge someone. If you don't have adequate documentation as why you actually did discharge someone, you may find yourself trying to convince a judge that it wasn't one of those prohibited reasons. Trust me - I've discharged pregnant women, in a union environment, and made it stick because of meticulous record-keeping.
—Guest GeorgiaYankee

Why boss in Microsoft is a dumb moron

I worked in Microsoft - Global Delivery for a year and a half. At the end of 18 months, I got fired. In this post, I will explain why the boss who fired me is a dumb moron. For those who are working in Microsoft technologies, Microsoft - Global Delivery is a good option to work. As an individual contributor, you can start your career as an Associate Consultant, then work your way up through Consultant and then a Senior Consultant. The interviewing procedure in Microsoft is a bit elaborate. You will have five rounds of interview. If you clear the first three rounds, you have a 40% chance of getting into Microsoft. The last two rounds are purely luck and fitment and you really do not have control over it. For the first three rounds, if you are good with .Net framework fundamentals, some design patterns, and your ability to understand the basics of either ASP.NET or WPF, you will be able to clear the interviews. It is pretty simple, but quite irritating. The guys who interview you make
—Guest Vijay


Our HR guy sent a list of names and salaries to the wrong printer where a group was congregating. Some of the most underpaid were women with disabilities.
—Guest Pamela

HR does not keep things confidential

I am so sick and tired of HR not holding their end of the deal with confidentiality. I heard thru my new boss that I was being watched by HR. They told him their interpretation of an incident 6 years ago that was a huge problem for me. The company policy states that nobody except the employee can use their corporate credit card. So when I submitted visa requests for my boss and coworker, I used my amex card. Unfortunately the card number got stolen during the visa process. 3 weeks later I received my amex bill and noticed $6000 worth of charges I knew I did not make. I called the authorities right away when I discovered the theft. I had my card cancelled and reissued. HR was so inadequate they were not made aware that my card was stolen. They reported me to internal controls who went over every dollar I spent at work. My boss approved all of my spending in advance. I finally was cleared of all false claims, but now they have told my new boss about it.
—Guest glendakay

Calling employees names

My son works for a company where the HR director met with him and his supervisor and in the meeting told him he was acting like a DICK. Really! She couldn't tell him specifically what he was doing that was "acting like a DICK" but cited his "body language" and attitude. This after 3 years of totally positive yearly reviews. How is that for inappropriate HR behavior. Calling employees names!
—Guest joe

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.

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

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