7 rookie HR mistakes everyone makes

| By: Arnie Bellini

You’re moving at 100 mph. You’re juggling operations, having to find new opportunities, and managing your team, so human resources (HR) might not be top-of-mind. That responsibility often falls to the owner or director of operations but he’s already wearing many other hats. We’re here to help.

We’ve covered 5 HR best practices, but now we’re turning our attention to the top mistakes to avoid.

From budget control to human capital value, conflict resolution, training, and development, HR plays a crucial role in the overall success or (or lack thereof) in your company—regardless of whether it’s someone’s full-time job or side responsibility.

We’ve guided thousands of technology companies away from making these 7 common HR mistakes, and now it’s time to share them with you:

1. Failing to lock down confidential data

As the holder of sensitive information, HR needs to have an incredible amount of tact and discretion. A leaked social security number or criminal history could wreak havoc on an employee’s personal life. For this reason, you should never integrate confidential HR information into your operational system. This data needs to be kept separate and secure.

2. Not having accurate job descriptions

When starting a new job, there are already many stress-inducing unknowns at play. Alleviate some of them by crafting a comprehensive job description. This might mean you need to put in a little extra effort upfront, but doing so will help ensure you get what you need.

A description should include responsibilities, reporting level, and KPIs. Once clearly outlined—accounting for budget and overall business strategy—and approved by management, it can be forwarded to HR for processing.

3. Rushing onboarding

Employees only start once. Any expectation you roll out in the first 48 hours will set a precedent for the rest of their employment. Orientation and onboarding training are imperative to ensure the high-level performance required for high-performing businesses. Failing to give yourself sufficient time to process a new hire only hurts you in the long run.

4. Not measuring performance

Not managing performance is like giving someone a Formula 1® race car, walking away, and expecting the recipient to win the Grand Prix. Employees are key assets; how much do you manage your investments?

Prioritize performance appraisals and carry them out when planned. If you make performance important, your staff will as well; it starts with you. Ideally, you and your employees have reports, KPIs, and dashboards to measure their progress and performance against.

5. Conducting one-sided performance reviews

Employees should always have the opportunity to contribute to their performance reviews. It’s a good way for you to gauge how they feel they’re doing and could give you insights into some of the things they’re doing behind the scenes to build (or tear down) your business. Your employees should also be given the opportunity to review their managers. Everyone benefits from feedback.

6. Baseless incentive programs

These types of programs need to reward something your company values. If your incentive program doesn’t tie into KPIs and company strategy, has unclear parameters, and doesn’t measure or benchmark a positive behavior, what good is it doing? All incentives should promote core company values. There are many ways to create incentive programs without breaking the bank.

7. Forgetting to communicate core values

If you’re not sharing your core values with new hires, you risk investing in employees who aren’t able to fully connect with or represent your mission and culture. Remember, culture is what allows people to row in the same direction. If you have weak culture and don’t reiterate your values on a regular basis, people will drift. Stand for something.

Make sure you’re not shortchanging yourself when it comes to attracting and keeping the right talent. Avoiding the 7 common HR mistakes above will help you make your workplace a comfortable place to do business. Everyone will know what’s expected of them—no awkward surprises.