If you work in HR, you may feel like you have the most thankless job in the world. I suppose the same could be said about people in the admin department and there are probably a bunch of other jobs out there where people feel this way. However, I know a number of people who say that people in the HR department are simply not appreciated for all the work they do for employees and the company. That said (and with a respectful nod to anyone who feels this way) I’ve also seen a number of HR people making grave mistakes in their departments. These mistakes not only affect the efficiency of business within the department but also the negative perception that others have towards the function.

Here are 3 of the top most dangerous HR mistakes that many departments face. By understanding why each one occurs you’ll probably be able to implement solutions more quickly and maybe even find hidden issues that you never knew existed.

1. Poor HR Department Structure

Have you ever seen one of those organizations that has a huge head count but hasn’t bifurcated the responsibilities of their HR People? Essentially, they have a pretty vertical structure where the HR team is assigned vague designations such as Manager HR, Assistant Manager HR, etc. The mistake that these departments make is that they’re not identifying who’s responsible for different HR functions. They need to answer, who’s leading recruitment, who’s taking care of compensation and benefits, who’s doing employee relations?

Of course this doesn’t mean that you need a person for every function (mostly likely that’s exactly what you shouldn’t be doing). But there needs to be just enough division of responsibility with clear job titles for the benefit of the employees and the rest of the company. Think Manager Recruitment, Assistant Manager Compensation & Benefits etc.

2. Underestimating the Power of HR

The thing about being passive is that it’s pretty easy. Once you achieve a comfortable status quo, whether in business or your personal life, it’s almost like it’s against human nature to change the current situation. Well, I’m telling you this is a dangerous place to be in – especially if you’re in a department like HR which is often stepped all over by people above and below the corporate food chain.

HR started off between the 18th and 20th centuries with the rise of the industrial manufacturing process along with the rise of demotivated employees. Think about it – people in HR are like the moms and dads of families. Can you imagine siblings who don’t hanve anyone to sort their issues out? That’s what it would be like to have a company without HR. There would be no-one to solve the issues between the company and the people. So never think that you’re there just to manage records and pay people. It’s a job far more important and involved than that.

3. Ignoring the Value of Numbers

Big Data. I’ve talked about how Google makes all of its HR decisions based on data and analytics making it one of the most successful companies. I’ve also given my two cents on Recruitment through Big Data as a component of Social HR. I’ll say it again (and probably a few times afterwards) – you can’t ignore the importance of numbers and big data in this world of HR.

Many companies are still using spreadsheets to maintain and manage their employee’s data. This is especially true for SME’s because it’s simply more affordable to manage information this way (and hire people who can work with it). But what most people are not aware of are all the free HR management information systems out there. And yes, I know that they don’t necessarily mean big data but it’s a step above spreadsheets.

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