Being an HR professional is not easy. A lot of responsibilities lie on your shoulders and a lot rides on your proper functioning. There are a lot of habits that make one a success in the murky HR field but what are the habits that you should avoid at all costs? You might have amazing skills and a great personality, but there are still a few things that you should avoid lest they negate all your good qualities. Following is a list of some quirks that as an HR professional you should dump, right now!
1. Gossip Girl Goodbye
HR is a goldmine of information; you possess a large amount of secret and sensitive company information like employee salaries, medical details and most importantly performance reviews. Sharing these details with anyone will not just lead to hurt feelings but can also be cause for legal action to be taken. If you want to get along with the other employees, gossiping is definitely not the way to go. Talk about yourself, ask them questions, ask about what is happening with them, but do not think that talking about the super secret stuff is a wise move in any scenario. Just a big NO!
2. I didn’t want to tell! They just found out!
Spreading gossip aside, there is such a thing as an unintentional leak of information, and trust us, when that happens, no excuse can save you. Talking loudly in close quarters, using a speakerphone for private conversations as well as forwarding emails containing said sensitive information can effectively end your HR career. Be careful! You are the keeper of the keys to information, be responsible about them.
3. I said what I said and not what I did not want to say. Why did you not understand?
You are a sort of brand ambassador for your company. When potential employees come for interviews, it is you who meets them. You are the front line when it comes to acclimating new employees, so when you are conveying the pertinent job-related information, you need to make sure that you are clear and there are no doubts left festering in their minds. Employees may be sometimes confused about the benefits they are to receive; this in the long run can be troublesome for both the employees and their managers. This simply means one thing – your neck on the line. Make sure your communications are clearly put across and always ask the candidates for any doubts they might have.
4. My choice is THE choice
Bad hiring practices are the worst enemies an HR professional can have. Failing to understand the parameters of a job and its requirements can lead to bad hires, which in turn can cost the company some serious money. Whenever presented with a job opening to be filled, make sure that you research the position’s skill requirements thoroughly, ask the managers for their inputs on what they are looking for in a hire. Then make sure you have a proper strategy in place for vetting the candidates thoroughly. Might sound like a lot of work, but a little bit of pre-planning can save you from a lot of woes later.
5. Oops! I forgot!
We understand that as an HR professional, you have a thousand things-to-do on your task list. You could be flooded with interviewees, your inbox overflowing with requests such as benefits changes, procedure documentation, or even training. With such an overflowing bag of responsibilities it is rather easy to lose track of individual employee requests and complaints. It is also easy to forget to follow-up with your potential new employees after an interview. These seemingly small tasks might actually be of utmost importance to the affected individuals, and it falls to you to prioritize each and every thing. You cannot forget tasks and you cannot avoid them. Organizational and time management skills need to become your best friends!
6. They did wrong, but so what?
Every company has a basic set of procedural and behavioral polices in place. But such policies are of little use to anyone unless they are enforced. Failure to confront rule-breakers and policy violators bodes ill for the company as a whole. Without reprimands, people will see no reason to follow said rules. Take evaluations and reported complaints seriously. Confront the employees who habitually keep towing the line. These policies are yours to uphold. Make sure you do so.
7. Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s rewards time
You have your company policies in place, you have communicated them clearly, and you have confronted the rule breakers. But what about those who are working hard and following the rules down to a T. Employees need to be recognized for the good work they do. So, take out your notepads and sit with the managers to chalk out a rewards program, and if there already is a program in place, make sure it is being implemented properly. After all a happy employee is a hard working employee.
8. Round two! Fight!
If there are some issues between an employee and a manager or even between two employees, the ideal solution is to let them sort out their differences in a calm manner. It does not lie with you to become the moral police and deliver judgment on who you think is right or wrong. In that case no one “wins”. You are not a referee. The most you should do is act as a mediator, if the two parties are unable to fix things amongst themselves, sit everyone down and help resolve the issues. But at no point should you offer your own opinion or even form judgments. Mediator, not a Referee!
9. You, I like. You, not so much.
It is in the human nature, sometimes you get along with people like matchsticks on fire, but sometimes some people are like oil to your water. Without any further metaphors, the plain fact is that you like some people and some people just irk you for no reason. You cannot control such feelings, but as an HR professional, you simply cannot show such favoritism. It might seem very tempting to put someone you like on top of the promotion list, but such favors are unfair to everyone all around. Someone you just don’t like might be better suited for the position; you cannot favor people just because you like them. Also, if your biases ever come into the open and become common company knowledge, your professional reputation will surely go down the drain. Not a great career move, trust us!
10. Peek-a-boo I saw you!
Yes, you need to make sure your employees are working according to policies. You need to make sure that the rules are being followed. But what you also need to make sure is that you do not overdo it. Peeping through the windows and hiding behind some doors, won’t make your employees feel special, they will feel stalked. An atmosphere that is overly-suspicious can make anyone nervous and that would negatively effect the productivity. Eventually employees will stop trusting the company, and without trust, you cannot expect loyalty. Ditch the excessive monitoring; it does no one any good. Make sure that none of the above quirks can be associated with you. None of these are going to work wonders for your careers.