Are you showing some self-restraint this Lent?

The year is charging ahead and already Lent is fast approaching us; a time traditionally for taking stock and giving up a luxury or two. Granted those luxuries are often alcohol or chocolate based – although the really savvy amongst us will give up things they never really liked anyway (so that’s no celery for me for a month!).

We all know that bad habits in our personal lives can lead to serious problems. From trying to adopt a healthier diet through to kicking caffeine or nicotine, most of us have experienced a time when we recognised that changes had to be made. But have you ever stopped to think about the HR habits that could be having a seriously negative impact on your business or your people? Like many less than favourable behaviours, we sometimes don’t realise that they’re a problem until they’ve spiralled out of control and costing us money. So, perhaps it is time for a quick reality check. Here are 10 bad HR habits that you might want to consider kicking for good this Lent:

1. Rushing through recruitment. You never want to stretch your team too thin. But even worse than that is filling your team with workers who are simply not a good fit for the role or the team. Exercise discretion in recruitment, and take the time to get to know what a candidate can do and how they do it BEFORE offering them a role, and if in doubt – don’t do it!

2. Less than thorough screening of new staffing candidates. Having gone through all the time and expense of recruiting new staff, it never fails to amaze me at how often there has been a failure to complete proper reference checks, health screenings, or other oversights that could lead to long-term employment problems.

3. You don’t spend enough time on new employee induction. Time is always a challenge for small businesses, and training new staff can be difficult if you’ve got a small team. But sourcing and recruiting a new employee can cost as much as four times an employees salary so it makes common and economic sense to do it properly. Develop a clear induction plan, then schedule opportunities for the new employee to learn from current employees. This has the benefits of properly welcoming your new team member, spreading out the training, and empowering and developing your longer-serving employees at the same time.

4. Carrying out annual reviews. Wait a minute – why exactly is this a bad habit? Shouldn’t you be making sure that performance discussions are taking place? Of course you should. But if they’re only happening once a year, then you’re missing a trick. Managing and improving performance needs to be built into your everyday working practices. If it’s not, then you can’t realistically expect to improve productivity or employee engagement.

5. Being stuck in the past. You don’t need me to tell you that the world of business is moving faster than ever before. You’re probably utilising modern tactics when it comes to your marketing, for example, but what about your HR? It could be time to ditch the notion that HR lives in the filing cabinet and bring your business up to speed. A conversation with me and a few savvy investments in technology and software could yield a huge return.

6. Thinking that training and learning are one and the same. There’s no denying that training can be expensive. Send a few employees to a conference, book in some places on an external course, or bring in a professional trainer for a couple of days, and your bill will be hefty. Sometimes, formal training is essential. But what’s arguably much more important is on-going learning within the workplace. Nurturing your talent isn’t a one-off event – it’s about what happens in your business on a day-to-day basis.

7. Failing to set clear goals. As the leader, it is your responsibility to clearly lay out the employee’s purpose, direction and goals. If you fail to do so, don’t be surprised when your employees simply plod along without really accomplishing anything. After all, how can anyone accomplish anything if they don’t know what they’re supposed to do or hear about how that has helped the business achieve its goals?

8. Being unavailable. Make time for your people; employ active listening and connect with them emotionally. Let them know that, at the end of the day, you are just as human as they are.

9. Communicating ineffectively. You’ve probably heard this line a thousand times: say what you mean and mean what you say. That’s because it’s solid advice. When communicating with your employees, convey your idea as clearly as possible. Also, keep the lines of communication open, and let everyone know that they should ask questions when necessary

10. Not developing yourself as a leader. Getting to a position of power does not mean that you have finished growing. Effective leaders understand that they will never know it all and that leadership is a process of constant learning and growing.

Bad habits are often deeply engraved into a business’s culture but that doesn’t mean that you should just ignore them and hope for the best. Tackling these issues head-on is your best option. As is asking for help if you think you need it. If you need a little help ironing out your bad HR habits in 2018 then don’t delay, get in touch with me today. I am here to help.