With the ever-changing HR landscape, keeping up with the latest best practices can be challenging. However, as an HR professional, staying ahead of the curve is essential to avoid common HR mistakes. In this article, we’ll look at some of HR professionals’ most common mistakes – and how to avoid them.
- Know that some policies and rules are rooted in law. HR professionals must understand the laws and regulations that apply and why they are essential. In these cases, an error can be catastrophic. For example, your HR team may want to offer leniency in benefits enrollment qualifications. But doing so could jeopardize your tax savings allowable under IRS tax code Section 125. Even some well-intended policies, like a policy offering women additional leave for maternity, could be considered discriminatory.
- Track the trends and understand the analytics. While many HR professionals are not numbers people, it’s essential to track retention/turnover information, demographic information, and salary information. An example would be if your organization has 50% women overall; however, only 15% of the senior management are women. Implement an intervention program to address the existing gaps. Data, such as exit interviews and compensation, must be reviewed to determine if there are themes and trends or if certain groups are affected.
- Stay current and up-to-date on employment law, even more so if you operate in multiple states or jurisdictions. Most states will add new rules annually or even more often. Large cities like Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and Miami, to name a few, have other laws beyond the state and federal laws you must abide by.
- Stay current on shifts in culture and language, especially regarding inclusion. For instance, an increasing number of individuals identify as non-binary, and the language used in the organization should be inclusive. References to “he or she” and “him or her” should all be adjusted to “them or they .” Also, there is a push to eliminate rules or policies that prevent certain natural hairstyles associated with certain racial and ethnic groups. Providing a space for nursing mothers to express and store breast milk for their infants should be thought out, even before there is a request. Employers should also understand how to accommodate workers with disabilities or religious needs.
- Be objective when dealing with employee concerns or reports of misconduct. Create review processes as if people outside the organization view it because the ultimate judgment could be placed into the hands of a jury. This is especially true if a senior leader, a top performer, or one considered “highly valued” by the organization has been accused. In this case, it’s important not to let the accused’s name sway the investigative results or for the report to be skewed based on the desires of a senior leader who may still consider this person a valuable asset.
- Understand compliance. Several compliance issues occur behind the scenes regarding required filings that HR professionals must know. They include EEO-1 reports, 5500s, OSHA logs, Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) notices, leave of absence, ERISA, wage and hour laws, etc. HR professionals must develop systems and processes to maintain the organization’s health and compliance. Failures in these areas could result in huge penalties, sanctions, and other consequences.
Human Resources is a combination of art and science, both equally important. Don’t forget that the first word of the HR department is “human .” It is essential to see people in their workspace and get to know employees before a situation occurs. We must understand that no one will be perfect, so coaching, development, and training are essential. Employees need to know that you have a vested interest in their success to have an effective HR department and avoid common HR mistakes.