Successful and respected HR managers treat employees with respect and dignity, steering clear of favouritism, power trips, discrimination, and micromanagement. If you want to work as an HR manager, here are some mistakes you would do well to avoid:

1. Unfair or exploitative wage or hour policies

Unpaid or excessive overtime work hours, not allowing for lunch or tea breaks, disregarding the minimum wage, and similar issues can not only be detrimental to the HR manager, but to the entire company and its brand, too. As such, this is one of the worst mistakes you can make as an HR manager, not to mention one of the most unethical. In particularly bad cases, this can result in lawsuits and media backlash against the company.

For example, when an unpaid United Nations intern lived out of a tent, unable to afford housing, images of the young man in his suit standing outside his tent flooded the internet last year [Source]. This led to outraged intern rights campaigners and serious media backlash for the UN.

The principle here is that every working person should be treated with dignity and paid fairly for the work they do.

2. Discriminative hiring

Inappropriate interview questions include asking the interviewee about his/her race, age, gender, or sexual orientation. Further problematic questions include asking whether or not the interviewee has a disability or is pregnant. An interviewer shouldn’t ask prospective employees about their personal details.

None of these factors should matter anyhow. All the HR manager should be concerned about is how competent the interviewee is for the available position. Questions and deciding factors should be about skill sets, training, experience, and other job-related areas. Anything else is discrimination. The same applies to the information in job descriptions and job requirements when recruiting.

The principle here is that every person in the job market should be judged on merit.

Click here to read: How to Conduct an Interview

3. Petty or pedantic policies that undermine employees

The following three petty or pedantic policies were included on Forbes’ [Source] Ten Worst HR Ideas Of All Time list:

– Bell-curve performance reviews

Bell-curve performance reviews, or forced ranking, is a system put in place to identify the best and worst performers in a company. The top performers are then rewarded while the poorer performers are either discarded or given the opportunity to improve. This system directly compares employees’ performances before ranking them against each other, causing a nasty, unsparing working culture that is open to supervisor bias.

– Counting keystrokes

Counting every keystroke on the computer of every employee is one of the most pedantic “management tools” you could implement. It conveys a mistrust of the employees and makes no room for the reality that not everyone works in the same way.

– The 360 degree feedback system

Telling an employee what all the other employees think about him/her can only lead to animosity. Employees generally work in a team and, in order for a team to function well and be effective, trust is important. Teamwork and morale will be negatively affected when employees are wondering who badmouthed them.
The main principle here is that employees are adults and generally don’t respond well to being treated like children.

Good HR managers are approachable and innovative about creating solutions that best suit the organisation and the employees. They understand that employees are not all the same, and they make an effort to get to know their employees’ individual goals and encourage their progress.

You may also want to think about signing up for one of our courses in human resource management.