5 Costly HR Mistakes

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These common HR mistakes have very costly consequences for many businesses. Find out the symptoms of these mistakes and their warning signs and how to avoid them.

1. The one-person HR department.

Symptoms: HR functions are managed by individuals with no HR experience such as an Operations Manager, Office Manager, or a Controller. HR responsibilities are delegated to line managers.

Results: When the HR function is managed by individuals with other responsibilities, or those that haven’t been properly trained in HR, important tasks tend to fall through the cracks – like meeting compliance deadlines and keeping up with changing legal requirements and trends. The basics may be accomplished, but more strategic issues are overlooked.

Solutions: Training anyone involved in an HR function or responsibility on the basics of HR, outsourcing HR projects (i.e. compensation, benefits analysis, performance management process overhaul, training and development), and using experienced consultants to help with strategic issues are ways to support the one-person HR department.

2. Losing control of hiring and recruiting.

Symptoms: Your organization receives an unmanageable number of resumes, has hiring managers that ask their own interview questions or use biases to make selection decisions, is frequently rushed to hire anyone to fill a position – which oftentimes is not the best hire, or lacks a consistent method of selection (different candidates are evaluated on different criteria). Or, your hiring process may be so lengthy and inefficient and require so many individuals’ involvement, that candidates lose interest and patience.

Results: Your organization experiences new-hire turnover, turned down job offers, vacant positions, lost productivity, and low hiring manager and new-hire satisfaction. You may experience difficulty managing applications and resumes and overlook potential top talent. You put your organization at legal risk because selection is not based on objective and consistent criteria. You rush the process and end up with a poor hire which affects your bottom line and that you inevitably terminate.

Solutions: Investing in an applicant tracking system, training hiring managers in the basics of interviewing and selection, and developing standard hiring policies and processes are all ways to make your hiring process more efficient, consistent, and productive. Also, establish reasonable timelines for the hiring process and only include those that need to be involved. Lastly, make sure that you believe the person you are hiring is the best candidate for the job and will be a top performer. Don’t just hire to fill a spot – it is far more costly in the long run.

3. Not reviewing performance.

Symptoms: In light of not providing pay increases the past few years, your organization may have skipped its annual performance review. Or, your performance review process may be lackadaisical – reviews aren’t completed on time and supervisors don’t take them seriously. Your organization may not even have a formal method of reviewing performance.

Results: In turn, either a portion of your workforce or many of your employees don’t receive feedback about their progress, leading to disengagement and less productivity. Documentation about performance is lacking, so when you need to terminate someone, you’re at a loss. Measurement of performance may be questionable, especially if supervisors don’t take the process seriously, and this could affect other programs like variable pay. Employees are dissatisfied with how their performance is measured and consider the tool invalid.

Solutions: Reviewing performance annually (at a minimum) is important. Develop either a standard review form or goal setting process, and consider employees’ feedback in the development of the system for buy-in. Additionally, train your supervisors in performance management (especially conducting a performance review) and hold them accountable for performance management duties in their own reviews. Make the performance management process mandatory, but not cumbersome (i.e. too many reviews to do at once, too lengthy form, etc.).

4. Failing to know your competitors.

Symptoms: Your organization doesn’t invest any time in learning about or benchmarking other organizations’ pay, benefits, or workplace practices. It doesn’t track HR data or metrics. It doesn’t know who its competitors are in terms of talent.

Results: Job candidates turn down offers or provide direct feedback that pay or benefits are below that of other organizations. Voluntary turnover of employees is prevalent in certain pockets of your workforce or throughout the organization. You receive consistent complaints about pay, benefits, and development opportunities.

Solutions: Identify the organizations in which you compete for similar types of talent and define their industry, size, and location. Select a few sources of data that are most relevant to these organizations. Compare your internal data with the information in these sources. Use the data to make adjustments to your pay, benefits, and workplace practices.

5. Not protecting your business.

Symptoms: Your employee handbook hasn’t been updated in a few years. Compliance changes have been neglected, as have risk management and disaster recovery plans. You haven’t created succession, development, and staffing plans to assure that you have the right talent in place to meet short and long term business objectives. You don’t look at demographic trends that will impact your business – like retirements or family needs.

Results: Your organization finds that it can’t make termination or disciplinary decisions without legal risk because it lacks certain policies. You realize that you don’t have the right skills or competencies to meet your organizational objectives. One of your key leaders leaves and you don’t have anyone prepared to fill the missing role. An employee goes out on FMLA and no one has been cross-trained to fill their shoes.

Solutions: Create succession plans for key roles and create plans (with timelines) to develop individuals in your organization to take on these roles, such as leadership development training or preparation. Conduct an annual “skills inventory” each year of your employees and compare the results to your strategic objectives. Do you have the skills you need? For what skills do you need to develop or hire? Do you have back-ups cross-trained? Coordinate training and staffing plans with this inventory. Finally, update your employee handbook at least annually (and always after a change in employment law) and obtain an outsider’s perspective – such as a consultant or legal counsel. These individuals will be able to notice gaps or deficiencies in your policies and make recommendations to protect your business.

Additional Resources

HR Consulting & Project Support
ERC is a leading provider of quality, affordable HR consulting and project support services in Ohio. Our HR consulting services provide the crucial strategic and technical expertise needed to support your HR goals and workplace initiatives. Contact consulting@yourerc.com for more information.

Compensation & Benefits Surveys
ERC publishes many compensation and benefits surveys to help Northeast Ohio employers benchmark their pay and benefits practices.Our ERC Salary Survey, Wage Survey, and Executive Compensation Survey provide local pay information for over 300 positions.

Hiring & Selection Practices Survey Results

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This report summarizes the results of ERC’s survey of 117 organizations in Northeast Ohio, conducted in February of 2011, on practices related to hiring and selection.

The survey reports trends in:

  • General selection methods
  • Reference, background, and credit checks
  • Drug tests
  • Employment tests
  • Pre-screening interviews
  • Hiring decisions
  • Sign-on and employee referral bonuses
  • Introductory periods
  • Hiring metrics
  • Hiring projections

 

11-Hiring-Selection-Practices-Survey.pdf (174.54 kb)

6 Ways to Improve Your Hiring Process

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6 Ways to Improve Your Hiring Process

Job candidate engagement and relationship management, recruitment metrics and streamlining, selection assessment, and hiring manager relations are all key areas of opportunity for many organizations and some of the major hiring practice trends.

Here are some ways to improve these aspects of your hiring process.

Improve candidate engagement

Each conversation and interaction with a candidate is an opportunity to engage or disengage the individual and establish a positive or negative relationship or perception of your organization. Remember that declined candidates can be sources of other job applicants, and they are just as important to engage.

  • Establish a timeline for the hiring process regarding when candidates should expect certain stages to occur (interviewing, testing, offer, etc.). Communicate this to candidates.
  • Follow up with candidates in a timely manner by setting a standard for response time. For example, set a goal to respond to candidates who have submitted a resume to your organization within 3 business days of their submission.
  • Communicate expectations. Tell candidates when they will hear from your organization following a stage in the hiring process, such as an interview.
  • Communicate all decisions to candidates. Follow up with candidates after each interview and stage of the hiring process, and when the final decision has been made. Additionally, consider providing feedback to candidates on why they were not selected. Approach the conversation in a way that keeps the door open for on on-going relationship.
  • Make a good impression. Be sure that hiring managers or others involved in the hiring process act professionally, ask appropriate interview questions, are prepared and have reviewed resumes, and treat the candidate with respect.
  • Survey or gather feedback from the candidate about the hiring process. Applicants and candidates are your customers, and in order to improve your hiring process, their feedback can be helpful.

Manage candidate relationships

Staying in touch with candidates and building relationships with them over time can help improve the recruitment process and build a network of contacts for future positions. It also can save money on sourcing.

  • Connect with all great job candidates on LinkedIn so that you can maintain contact with them in the future, should staffing needs emerge.
  • Reach out to exceptional job candidates every once in awhile to “check in” and build a relationship. You never know when you may be looking for their talent.
  • Periodically call or email employees that have left the organization on good terms. Stay in touch with top talent that has left your organization.
  • Consider creating alumni groups or events for previous employees that have left the organization. Some organizations create these groups on social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, while others initiate in-person meetings or events.

Use more effective selection methods

Selection problems typically occur when a) the methods used don’t match the skills, abilities, or knowledge that need to be evaluated and b) the process or people involved in the process approach it in an unstructured, untrained manner that makes decision-making subjective and error-prone.

A comprehensive selection process should be based on a thorough review of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the position, as well as organizational and cultural fit. By analyzing your hiring needs in depth, your organization can create selection practices that best fit the requirements of the position.

For example, if your organization wants to determine whether a candidate’s style or personality fits the position, it is best to conduct an assessment versus asking personal questions in the interview. If other candidate traits should be evaluated, such as leadership style or problem solving abilities, assessments can be used to evaluate those traits.

By focusing on selection methods that fit the position, your organization can improve its selection effectiveness.

Additionally, your organization may consider improving its interviewing practices by providing more structure to hiring managers with an interview guide to ensure that they are asking appropriate, targeted, and consistent questions of all applicants and rating them according to objective criteria or by ensuring that managers are trained on interviewing practices.

Measure effectiveness

Your hiring process should be measured so you know how it is working. If your organization only has time to track a few critical hiring metrics, make sure these are the ones: time to fill, cost per hire, sourcing effectiveness, and quality of hire.

They will show how efficient and costly your process is, what sourcing is generating the most applicants and the best hires, and the quality of candidates whom you are hiring, all important to measuring your recruitment and hiring process’s effectiveness.

Additionally, linking or correlating quality of hire metrics back to the selection tools and sourcing methods can help your organization validate its hiring approaches and determine which ones are effective.

Enhance recruiter/HR and hiring manager relations

Recruitment of great talent can suffer when HR and hiring managers are not on the same page. This can create disorganization, inefficiencies, and inconsistent communication that candidates often pick up on during the hiring process. Positive and efficient recruiter/HR and hiring manager relations can be improved by enhancing communication in all of the following ways:

  • At the beginning of the process, identify the core people that will need to interview, partake in selection phases, and make the final decision. This will prevent the inevitable “reeling” of others into the process which can elongate the hiring timeframe.
  • Communicate the hiring process to hiring managers before recruitment for the position starts. You may consider including a timeline to manage their expectations, help them carve out time, and answer questions. This could be an introductory email or a meeting.
  • Manage their involvement in the selection process. If managers are to rate candidates in an interview, be sure that they have received rater training. If they design interview questions or conduct interviews, be sure they have received interview training. Also ensure that managers have the job description and are aware of any competencies or criteria they will need to assess.  Give hiring managers the tools and training to hire effectively.
  • Keep hiring managers abreast of the hiring process and where candidates stand. Maintain open lines of communication throughout the process.

Streamline

If technology isn’t being used in your organization’s recruitment process, it’s time to start integrating new systems of tracking applicant and recruiting data. One of the most challenging aspects of recruitment is managing resumes and applications. There are plenty of great systems and software applications that your organization can invest in to help streamline this process. Leveraging applicant tracking systems is important in making the process efficient.

Beyond social media, which is also technology your organization can use to enhance its recruitment and hiring process, some organizations have expanded their sourcing efforts to mobile technology like cell phones and texting.

Behavioral Interviewing Training

Behavioral Interviewing Training

Participants will learn the importance of proper preparation for an behavioral interview.

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