5 HR and Hiring Practices You Need to Fire

Companies don't usually have a problem letting people go who are stealing or consistently underperforming and showing no signs of improvement. Why are we so much more lenient with HR practices that cost a ton and don't do what we need them to?
5 HR and Hiring Practices You Need to Fire
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You're an HR person, it's your job.

You’re an HR professional, and it’s often your job to let people go. It may be that the employee’s skill set doesn’t align with the goals of the company, or they skimmed some vacation money off the company’s top line. Either way, it’s time to go your separate ways. 

Employees can contribute to or harm the progress of your company—so can your HR processes. Some of yours may only be hamstringing your employees and filtering top candidates out of your talent pool. 

Take a look at your own HR practices and see if there is anything that you need to fire. Here are some HR practices that are probably in your organization that you should probably let go. Don’t worry, severance pay is not necessary.

Thinking You Have All the Power in the Hiring Process

You don’t.

Right now the labor market is pretty tight. The unemployment rate is low and jobs are being created like crazy. Basically, great potential employees are not dying for work. If they’re actively looking, they probably already have a few offers and yours is just one of them. 

How else can I put this? Talent is no longer a dime a dozen, jobs are. You need top talent more than they need you. This all means that in job interviews your candidate is likely evaluating you just as seriously as you are evaluating them and are willing to pass if you don’t measure up.

Don’t worry, you can still win top talent. It’s just a lot harder.

It may be helpful to shift your thinking a bit. Hiring isn’t about individuals trying to show off what they can offer to great companies anymore. It’s about companies trying to show off what they can offer to talented individuals.

"Hiring isn't about individuals trying to show off what they can offer to great companies anymore. It's about companies trying to show off what they can offer to talented individuals."

By understanding that the candidate wields so much power in the labor market, you will be much more able to appeal to them and win great hires. I know it’s easier said than done, but you have to learn their needs and show how you can meet them. 

Obviously, a big part of winning top talent is through a high salary, but salary isn’t everything, especially with the millennial workforce. According to a Glassdoor study, “64 percent of millennials would rather make $40K a year at a job they love than $100K a year at a job they think is boring.”

The statistic speaks for itself. It doesn’t mean that if you are a scrappy startup you can’t win great talent. You just can’t win great talent by being boring.

Long Hiring Process

According to CareerBuilder, “66%” of job seekers said that they would wait only two weeks for a callback after which they consider the job a lost cause and move on to other opportunities.”

You can’t afford to hire too slowly. Good candidates get offers fast, and in order to keep great talent interested in you, you have to show that you’re interested in them. Keep track of your candidates by using a good ATS that can help you maintain timely communication with job seekers.

Impersonal Recruiting

You could have the best opportunity for someone in the world, but if your outreach is terrible, you’re not going to get any bites. Just like getting your boss to take your “revolutionary new idea” seriously, it all comes down to the pitch.

Email automation is awesome, but when it comes to recruiting, email automation can’t touch carefully written individual outreach. We get too many emails to give attention to everything, so people tend to only read messages that have been sent specifically to them. 

Fortunately, there’s a simple outline for putting together an effective pitch that can be personal enough to resonate with those you’re recruiting. If you do it right.

  • Establish some level of rapport.
  • Explain what it is you’re pitching.
  • Appeal to their self-interest. 

There may be some middle ground between full automation and full manual outreach that works for you. The key here is that you can’t afford to be totally impersonal. If the email looks like it could have been sent to just anybody, people aren’t going to read it.

Policies That Pit Employees Against Each Other

This is pretty nuanced because competition in the workplace isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Depending on your culture, a bit of competition can be extremely motivating. But competition turns sour when one employee’s win means another’s loss. And coworkers go from having each other’s backs to stabbing each other in the back.

In Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk on creating a safe workplace, he discusses the benefits of a unified workforce that go back to paleolithic times.

He argues that the world was full of danger and was working very hard to kill us. In order to survive, homo sapiens became social beings. These social circles created circles of safety built on trust and cooperation. Basically, individuals could sleep at night because they could trust that someone else was up watching for danger.

Sinek continues that we live in a similar environment today; the only difference is the type of dangers. Instead of saber-toothed tigers, we have competitors and evolving technologies that “frustrate [our] growth and steal [our] business from [us].”

The only way we can survive these conditions well is by internal trust and cooperation. Any process that inhibits this type of environment is detrimental to the growth of everyone in the organization. 

"The only way we can survive these conditions well is by internal trust and cooperation."

Outdated Performance Reviews

Liz Ryan, an HR contributor to Forbes Magazine, makes the bold claim that “performance reviews are artifacts left over from the industrial revolution” and are much less applicable in today’s knowledge and skills market. 

The workplace of today is very different from the assembly line of yesterday, and HR practices need to change accordingly. The work of a modern employee is much more nuanced than the number of doorknobs they are able to assemble.

"Performance feedback needs to be much more frequent, and it needs to be inspiring."

The rare performance review with an underperforming employee is anything but motivating. These reviews focus on the past and do little more than make the employee feel guilt. Performance feedback needs to be much more frequent, and it needs to be inspiring. An Inc. article suggests that performance reviews should be a call to action that inspires improvement.

Performance feedback needs to be much more frequent, and it needs to be inspiring. 

There You Have It

Five things that you’ve been doing that you don’t have to do anymore! You’re welcome. I understand that every company is different with their own needs, so take a look at your HR department and decide what practices you really need and what you need to lose.

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