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Most Common Mistakes Made by Inexperienced HR Managers

Like anyone starting out in their professional career, it’s easy to make HR mistakes when you don’t have a lot of hands-on experience yet. Some of the most common HR mistakes are made in areas like developing policies and procedures, employee discipline, hiring, creating and updating job descriptions, and communicating with employees.


Read on to learn more about these common HR mistakes so you can hopefully avoid them!

Most Common Mistakes Made by Inexperienced HR Managers


1. Hiring mistakes


One of the most important HR tasks is handling the hiring process. Inexperienced HR managers may not realize the importance of job descriptions. Without one, however, a company is much more likely to get unqualified applicants or hire people that don’t understand what is expected of the role.


Inexperienced HR managers sometimes make mistakes such as asking questions that intimidate the applicant or that shouldn’t be asked during an interview.


When an interviewer intimidates a candidate by treating the interview like an interrogation, they are likely to miss out on getting a clear picture of what the candidate is really like and possibly some important information about their skills and experience.


Asking questions that are “off-limits” is a big problem that can even lead to a discrimination lawsuit. It is very important to avoid unnecessary personal questions and stick to questions that focus on the candidate’s job experience and qualifications. Some questions to avoid are:

  • Are you pregnant?

  • How old are you?

  • Are you married?

  • Do you have children?

  • Where are you from?

  • What is your ethnic background?

Create a list of appropriate questions before the interview that you can fall back on.


2. Failure to create policies and procedures


If you want the company to run smoothly, policies and procedures must be in place; preferably written in an employee handbook or procedure manual that is easily accessible to all employees. It isn’t enough to have vague or implied policies; if they aren’t written down, it is too easy for individuals to interpret things in their own way and that is a recipe for problems and inconsistent treatment.


A business is more successful when every team member knows the rules and how they are expected to behave, dress, and interact with others at work. Clear policies and procedures are also an important way to protect yourself from a discrimination lawsuit. If everyone knows that harassment will not be tolerated and what the process is for handling a harassment allegation, for example, then it is much harder to accuse your business of tolerating or enabling abuse. It is worth it to spend the time creating an employee handbook; in the end, it often ends up costing companies more when they don’t have one.


3. Failure to discipline and document disciplinary action


When an employee violates company policy, it is very important to document the violation so future decisions to suspend or terminate the employee can be defended. Even a verbal warning – which is usually the first step in the disciplinary process - should be documented along with any evidence of their poor behavior. This way, if the behavior happens again or the employee crosses a different boundary, it is easier to justify the next phase of disciplinary action; up to and including termination.


4. Poor communication


Sometimes HR managers over-promise to new hires; causing huge disappointments down the road when the promise – such as a quick promotion - cannot be delivered. If training is not thorough, how can employees be expected to perform their job at a high level? Poor communication can cause all kinds of problems in the workplace from employees not understanding what is expected of them to feeling left out of decisions that affect them and feeling let-down from broken promises. The best way to communicate is to be straightforward, clear and kind in all HR communication; whether written or verbal. If you follow this guideline, your employees will trust you to tell them the truth and will be more likely to feel comfortable talking to HR about an issue they may be experiencing.


Partnering with Makai HR


Need HR support but don’t want to hire an in-house HR manager? That’s okay; we’ve got you covered through HR outsourcing! When you partner with Makai HR you can get on with the business you are trying to grow while we take care of your employee needs from payroll to taxes, health insurance/benefits and worker’s compensation. You also gain peace of mind that you are compliant with all of Hawaii’s employer laws (if you’ve ever looked you know that the list is very long and changes happen). When choosing a PEO to partner with, there are many things to consider including cost, services, and technology solutions.


With the cost of doing business in Hawaii at record highs, we know how important it is to keep labor costs in line with revenue. Our plans are priced competitively and include value-added services like time-in/time-out systems. Our three tiers of PEO service plans are tailored to the size of your business and specific needs. We offer a 100% paperless solution which means that your employees can manage their needs through a computer, tablet, or phone. We can truly improve your employees’ work benefits while freeing you up to run your business.


What are you waiting for? Companies that partner with a PEO benefit from 7-9% faster growth, 10-14% lower employee turnover; and they are 50% less likely to go out of business. Contact us today to get started!


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