What is the basic purpose of documenting HR policies? It may sound strange; but yes, some policies may really stink and can add a lot of negative value to help organizations sink! What a dreadful statement, it may sound to be. But this is what might happen, albeit unknowingly… unintentionally…
Certainly, the idea here is to be aware of them, so that those are avoided at any cost!
- Counting hours is not always desirable. Strict timekeeping may be okay for the workers in the manufacturing set-up or working on the machines; but too strict a discipline all across can kill creativity, motivation and above all a responsible behaviour. If you find it too difficult to keep track of the output and much easier to count hours, you will get that only! Just think about it. You can’t win the talent war by treating your people like children. What are you looking for at the end of it? Solid performance that comes out of heart and soul, or just physical presence?
- During tough times, unfortunately the management decides to carry on with sub-par leadership… and here starts the negative spiral. These not very competent managers are afraid to hire the competent ones for fear of being exposed. The mediocrity cascades downhill until it covers the entire set-up and good people start flying out of the door. An apt saying goes like this, “If you hire people better than you, you will become a company of giants, and if you hire people worse than you, you will become a company of dwarfs.” As such, you need to have a very robust recruitment process, whatever may be the situation!
- Some companies require their employees to bring in a proof for every damn thing, including permitting a leave of absence to attend a bereavement in the family. That’s about as low as you can get. If you don’t trust your people and think that they will invent relatives and kill them off for a few days’ pay, you are not fit to be a leader. When an employee is in personal distress due to a family member’s death, asking for the proof is nothing more than adding insult to injury. This shameful practice will certainly drive out any self-respecting employee… eventually, if not immediately.
- A very popular, well established practice is to follow a bell curve for performance reviews. It forces most of the employees to be in the middle band, with a limit of say 5 percent to be in the Excellent category. Worse than that is the balancing act on the other side, with another 5% at the bottom to be labelled as poor and worthy of termination. Does it mean that your policies are bad enough to hire 5% people, who are good for nothing? It is much easy to hide behind your sick policies and get rid of these people than giving constructive feedback. But, just imagine the demotivation and fear psychosis, it is injecting in the organization’s environment.
- It is surprising to see how some companies subscribe to the old axiom, “pound foolish and penny wise”. For expense bills reimbursements, being exact is really no issue with digital / online payments. Still, some companies may follow the rounding-off principle – ignoring less than 0.50 bucks and making it next whole figure for 0.51 and above. But, what would you call an employer ignoring all fractions, 0.1 to 0.99 on all bills? Yes, depending on the number of payments, you may be saving a few bucks; but do you realize the cost you are paying for this saving. A perfect case of stinking practices!
- Employee development is extremely important and motivating. Some companies hire big consultants, and their expertise will make beautiful IDPs (Individual Development Plans) for its employees. Being experts, they can prepare a much better document as compared to the employees themselves. Yes, it would be an excellent document and nothing more. Where will be the ownership? It will not be an overstatement to say that superbly documented development plans without employee involvement, have nothing more than scrap value. That is if for your good luck, it is not demotivating!
It makes sense to keep your organization’s door tightly shut to keep such practices out. And if any such practice is already floating around in the organization, it is time to give it a boot… without delay!