Let's face it -- organizations are only as able as the people who comprise them. When employee wellbeing is prioritized and employees are happy, an organization is positioned to do its best work. This fosters an atmosphere of positivity where everyone can thrive. But if morale is bad, turnover is high, and socio-economic disenfranchisement is the norm, it's probably a good idea to revisit your ‘HR first’ principles.
In my experience, there are four primary HR obstacles that stymie organizational success. If you can overcome them before dissension spreads and the foundation begins to crumble, you can help your organization to flourish. Being proactive also means you'll spend less time putting out fires or performing unnecessary remedial measures.
Here's a few that you should avoid:
Challenge 1: “Hairy hiring”
Hiring new personnel shouldn’t be a quick-and-dirty process. To the contrary, it takes time to recruit, interview and select the right person for the job. Too often, however, organizations take shortcuts because of external pressures, like looming deadlines and the urgent need to get warm bodies assembled to quickly perform the work.
Additionally, when onboarding is rushed, or there is a failure to acquaint new hires with your organization’s culture, you might soon find yourself at square one, reinventing the wheel and restarting the entire cycle. Don’t be in such a hurry to fill that empty desk or chair. Take the long view on hiring. Invest the time, and in the proper strategies, that are best suited to helping you select the strongest candidates.
Challenge 2: Providing employees with insufficient feedback
Most people struggle to step outside of themselves and look at their work through objective eyes. Blind spots and knowledge gaps are common of all employees at every level. But even great performances can be overlooked if not pointed out. If you’re not sitting down with your employees at regular intervals to examine past performance and pointing out ways to improve it, it's unlikely that they will engage the process on their own.
Periodic, constructive feedback is not only necessary to provide continued guidance that can translate to exponential growth, but helps both employees and managers to communicate more effectively and develop more congenial relationships over time.
Challenge 3: Disregarding employee dissatisfaction
If an employee brings a problem or concern to your attention, especially a serious one, address it immediately. This means documenting the complaint, investigating the issue and taking whatever corrective action may be necessary to remedy the situation.
This also means including an HR imperative that encourages uprooting ‘weeds’ wherever and whenever they are found. ‘Weeds' tend to consume other areas and have a chilling effect on the organizational core, inclusive of its operations and brand. Remember, most mountains started out as molehills; otherwise “minor issues” that no one imagined would spiral out of control.
Challenge 4: Aiding in antagonism
A little intra-office competition can be good for employee motivation, but when so-called competition turns cutthroat, work quality declines and HR complaints soar. If find your people throwing around the words “us” and “them” a lot, it’s time to revisit the organizational mission and focus more on collaboration. No employee is an island, and every organization is an amalgamation of its collective base. Cohesive teams create greater overall value for the organization and help to move collective visions forward.
A culture rife with dissension only breeds negativity and contributes to poor morale. But, cultures aren't created in a vacuum. Behaviors create norms and norms create culture. Therefore, it's important to be vigilant. Notice any behaviors misaligned with the organizational ethos and nip them in the bud. Additionally, prioritize opportunities for team building and employee engagement, where trust, creativity and collaboration are both encouraged and cultivated.
Even if you successfully avoid these HR missteps, there is no guarantee that your organization won't experience others. The good news is that you can strive to be proactive and work towards your organization’s overall success.