This post was written by Erica Sunarjo
HR performs a critical function for any company. It is the hub of all things related to employees – their employment, the policies that impact them, their pay and benefits, their performance reviews, and, in general, their satisfaction with their workplace environment.
If you do not have a professional, up-to-date HR team, you can face disasters that could put your company “on the rocks.”
Here are the things your company should avoid.
1. Failure to Comply with Governmental Regulations
There are a host of regulations regarding the workplace – everything from safety, to equal opportunity, to harassment, etc. Failure to comply and monitor that compliance can leave a company open to lawsuits and fines, not to mention tough follow-up inspections.
2. Failure to Have Personnel Policies in Writing
There should be employee handbooks that are provided and “covered” during any new employee orientation. And these handbooks must be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. If employees do not know what is expected and what their rights and responsibilities are, they cannot be held accountable when they do not comply.
3. Poor Recruitment and Employment Processes
Before a position opening is published, HR managers must clearly identify what they are looking for in skills and abilities. This means creating a job description that will drive the position posting writeup. Failure to do this means that a hire may not be precisely suited for the position.
The interview process is just as important. Questions must be developed in advance, and decisions made about who will be involved in that interview process. “Shooting from the hip” will result in hasty hires that may not work out at all.
Another key function is onboarding. When new hires come on board, there must be a comprehensive onboarding process that involves every aspect of the company, all policies and procedures, methods for submitting timesheets and other documentation as well as company policies regarding attendance, leave, and payroll. When employees do not receive this orientation training, they can be confused and frustrated and subject to disciplinary actions of which they are unaware.
4. Poor Payroll and Benefits Implementation
There is a great deal of paperwork involved in payroll and benefits. Keeping accurate records and timesheets in a solidly organized manner is critical. People get angry when their paychecks are not right or when their benefits claims take too long to resolve. Using digital solutions can prevent issues and misunderstandings.
5. Incomplete Employee Files/Violations of Confidentiality
Keeping complete and up-to-date files on all employees, their work histories, their performance evaluations, and any other related documents is a no-brainer, and yet HR departments can be remiss about this. These will be necessary if there are ever issues or disagreements, not to mention situations that relate to compliance.
Documents related to employment eligibility are also critical – you know, those documents that the government requires to prove work eligibility/citizenship. Some documents, especially related to HIPAA regulations, may need to be filed separately, because of confidentiality requirements, and access should only be provided to those who need it.
Failure to protect employee confidentiality can result in serious events – again, lawsuits and fines.
6. Failure to Provide Critical Training
Job responsibilities change; company policies and procedures change. It is the responsibility of HR to determine what type of training may be required and to provide for that training to the right employees. Failure to provide the training that employees need to perform their jobs is a recipe for disaster.
7. Not Honoring Multi-Lingual Preferences
It is not uncommon to employ individuals whose primary language is different from English. And such things as handbooks, policies, and other documents may be challenging for them to understand, especially when legal language is involved.
If there is a segment of the employee population whose primary language is different, whether they are local or housed in other countries, it will be important to have important materials translated for them. Finding a professional translation company, such as The Word Point, will go a long way toward ensuring that foreign-speaking populations have the information they need and fully understand it.
8. Failure to Provide Regular Performance Evaluations
Every HR department must have policies, procedures and documents that allow objective and accurate employee performance evaluations on a regular schedule. If an employee is failing to meet expectations, for example, there is no recourse unless these issues are addressed in evaluations, along with specific measures that must be taken to improve performance. When these things are codified in writing, it becomes much easier to take personnel action, and certainly avoids potential lawsuits.
9. Failure to Address Employee Morale Issues
Every organization has a culture. And that culture impacts employee satisfaction. It is the job of HR to keep its ear to the ground and pick up issues of employee dissatisfaction and morale. When employee morale is low, productivity suffers, and turnover is much higher than it should be. An HR department that does not stay attuned to employee feelings and address negative conditions is not doing its job.
Your company may have amazing products and services to offer to clients and customers. You may have a great marketing program. But, in the end, you have to deliver. And that delivery is dependent upon your employees. You need to recruit, hire, and retain personnel who can contribute to your organizational goals, who know your expectations, who understand your policies, who get proper training, and who feel good about you. HR plays a critical role here. And if those roles are not assumed and implemented well, you leave yourself exposed to problems that should not be. Those problems can cost you dearly and even threaten your existence.
Erica Sunarjo graduated from South Texas College majoring in Marketing and Creative Writing. She used her knowledge to make a difference in the realm of business copywriting and invested heavily in traveling and language learning. At present, Erica is fluent in French and Spanish, works for The Word Point, studying Chinese, and working her way to being a multilingual copywriter. She keeps track of the latest trends in IT and technologies, blogs about efficient strategies in education and business coaching, holds educational webinars.