7 Deadly Human Resources Sins


Nobody is perfect, right? Many human resources departments have committed “sins,” but have they been “deadly?”

7 Deadly Sins Human ResourcesIn human resources, some deadly sins may not be the “classics” like Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed and Sloth, but they can certainly kill your success with employees.

Here are seven deadly sins for human resources to avoid:

Deadly Sin #1: Performance evaluations only once a year.

Is an annual performance review the only time you discuss performance? It shouldn’t be. Human resources are about talent management, and both HR and management should evaluate performance in a series of discussions throughout the year.

Plan, monitor and evaluate progress on a regular basis. Make evaluation a process—not a single event—and the resulting jump in performance might surprise you.

Deadly Sin #2: Talking to—not with—employees.

Never start a meeting with employees by saying “this is what I think.” Emphasizing the power disparity or imbalance—making employee interactions a one-way street—is a certain way to make any situation worse!

Look at it as if you are meeting with a strategic partner, where you both have a stake in their success.

Deadly Sin #3: Surprise!

People hate surprises, especially at work. And they genuinely hate to be blindsided with complaints, extra work or problems. Never let anything, either good or lousy, come as a surprise. Concerns about performance (and the like) should not wait until the formal performance evaluation.

Deadly Sin #4: Relying on hearsay, not getting facts.

So I heard you were the worst employee in the department. Is that true? Why would you think that gossip is appropriate in dealing with an employee? Any evaluation, issue or assessment should be based on factual details, not second-hand knowledge.

If there are concerns, make sure you have enough data before addressing the employee. Be prepared with the facts!

Deadly sin #5: Not balancing good with the bad.

The best plan for human resources is using “criticize, then praise” techniques to manage employees. When calling in someone for a policy violation, remind them that they are still a valuable part of the organization.

And every employee, no matter if they are ordinary or a superstar, will respond to specific examples of what you like and what needs work. Be accurate and provide realistic examples.

You’ll get much more of the good and a lot less of the bad.

Deadly Sin #6: Assuming a single event represents a pattern.

Human resources are just that, human! We tend to look more carefully at the things that happen recently.  An exceptionally good history might be overlooked when compared with one fresh moment of weakness. Recent things we have a tendency to retain. When dealing with employees, you should always put everything in context. This is not to say that unacceptable behavior should be tolerated only because it is a good employee.

On the other hand, a skilled employee is a valuable asset, and many situations should be mitigated by that.

Deadly Sin #7: Performing human resources functions in the wrong setting.

Having a serious discussion with an employee, such as performing evaluations, shouldn’t be done in a lunch room or while walking down the hall. Invest time to do it right, which means do your job in the appropriate venue. Human resources are a necessary function in an organization, and the business of HR should be conducted in the right setting.

Do you have any “deadly” sins that could kill the effectiveness of human resources? Let us know in the comments!

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