There's still plenty of time to avoid making critical HR mistakes in 2016. Identifying the top errors made by businesses and taking action to prevent them may greatly increase the odds of having a stronger, more stable workforce and avoiding costly penalties for outdated or inaccurate HR policies.
Here are some potential HR mistakes to watch out for in 2016 (and beyond):
Hiring Too Quickly
Businesses that experience an unexpected growth spurt are often tempted to hire additional employees in a hurry, just to keep up with customer demand. This can be a prescription for disaster. Failing to craft an accurate job description and then dashing through the interview process may result in acquiring a warm body for that empty office space—but will the new hire have the skills and experience to get the job done? Finding out after the fact that your new employee isn't the right fit can be a costly mistake. It's projected that the average expense involved in the recruitment, hiring, and training of an employee, plus benefits, may be 1.5x to 3x of salary. So, for example, an employee who makes a salary of $40,000 could cost a business as much as $120,000 by the time he or she reaches full productivity.
"Managers often don't take the time to thoroughly interview candidates and complete in-depth reference checks," notes retired HR executive Mary Stern. She suggests "getting to know a candidate through social media" before starting the interview process.
Neglecting your Employer Brand
The competition for acquiring and retaining talent may be hotter in 2016 than ever before. But too many businesses may neglect the use of social media and other branding resources when it comes to attracting that talent, although job candidates are often drawn to potential employers who present a strong employer brand in the marketplace.
"In a workforce flooded with hot-footed Millennials, businesses need to assess how the broader community views them (particularly on social media) if they want to attract the best talent," notes David Godden of Thymometrics.
Not Updating your Employee Handbook
Are you still relying on the employee handbook you cobbled together when you first started the business? If so, it's potentially outdated and out of compliance with applicable employment laws.. Without updating your internal HR policies, you may be putting your business at risk for legal violations. If you want your employees to abide by an acceptable code of behavior you need to provide them with clearly defined and written guidelines.
It's advisable to review and update work-related employee policies at least once every year. Just as importantly, you want to ensure that employees have read and understood what's expected of them, and to acknowledge in writing that they've reviewed the contents of your updated employee handbook.
Still unclear about the distinction between "full-time employee" and "independent contractor?” If so, now's the time to fully explore and understand these two different classifications so you can address the potential financial penalties that the IRS and the DOL can impose on your business for misclassification. Different types of recordkeeping are involved in order to comply with federal regulations, so don't make the mistake of ignoring this issue or accidentally misclassifying a worker and then possibly suffering the consequences.
Failing to Effectively Onboard New Employees
Even when a business does a good job of recruiting and hiring the right individuals, they often fail to follow up with a comprehensive onboarding program. The result can be a poor first impression on the new hire's part and potentially a lack of engagement with his or her job.
That lack of engagement can lead to frustration and an untimely departure or termination. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes that "half of all hourly employees quit within four months of starting a new position and half of the outside senior level hires fail within eighteen months." 2016 is the time to ramp up your employee onboarding efforts, so that new hires can quickly see how their role fits into the larger picture, and their engagement with the company gets off to a strong start.
Don't let another year go by with outdated or inaccurate hiring and HR policies. Benefit from the mistakes of others and build a stronger, more engaged workforce for your business.