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7 HR Mistakes You Must Avoid

12 May


The role your human resource (HR) department plays in your organization comes with an overwhelming amount of complexities. From federal regulations to employee grievances and everything in between, your HR staff touches every department in one way or another.

With all of the challenges that will present themselves, it’s expected that errors and mistakes will also be present. However, the biggest HR mistakes can be detrimental to your retention efforts, production, and bottom line.

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Here are seven of the biggest HR mistakes and poor practices that must be avoided.

Failure to Inform of FMLA Rights

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants all qualified employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave to manage serious personal or family health problems or care situations. Despite this, the Department of Labor (DOL) says that failure to notify employees of their extended leave rights is the most common FMLA violation.

This HR mistake could potentially lead to legal action from the employee. According to the DOL, the average cost to defend an FMLA lawsuit is $78,000, regardless of the outcome. Furthermore, an employee’s superior could also be sued.

Improper Onboarding

Results from a recent survey show that only 12% of employees said their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees.

Improper onboarding can lead to a plethora of issues down the road. This includes incorrect employee personal information, payroll errors, a larger learning curve, and insufficient equipment.

To ensure that you won’t miss any steps in the onboarding process, you can follow an onboarding checklist. You’ll have all of your action items listed and you’ll be able to repurpose it with each new hire.

Failure to Provide ADA Accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people with disabilities from discrimination in several areas such as employment, transportation, public accommodations, and more.

Failure to provide ADA accommodations can come with some hefty fines. The maximum penalty for a first-time ADA violation is $75,000, and a second violation can incur penalties of up to $150,000.

Improper Data Management

One of the biggest HR mistakes is mismanaging data. HR professionals need to have a firm grasp on all employee-centric information from reprimands and evaluations to medical benefits and 401(k) enrollment.

If your HR team doesn’t have data and information properly filed, major problems could arise when the information isn’t able to be located, especially in response to litigation, complaints, or leadership inquiries.

Proper recordkeeping will also help you stay in compliance with regulatory agencies.

Being Reactive, Rather than Proactive

A big portion of an HR team’s job is to react to situations without letting them get out of control. However, it is oftentimes more effective to be proactive in finding a solution to a problem.

First, reacting too quickly to a situation can be costly to your business. If an employee files a complaint against a superior and they are taken away from their duties to sit in meetings with HR, productivity will decrease.

Secondly, when it comes to discipline, there is usually a punishment or correction, which often triggers a fear response. Employees who are fearful may be resistant and escalate a situation. It is imperative that employees don’t feel intimidated. HR teams need to take the necessary time to look at every situation from every angle and have meaningful conversations with employees to be sure everyone has a clear understanding of the complaint and escalation process.

It will also help to take a progressive approach to discipline: Verbal warning, written warning, final warning, and termination. Don’t skip directly to termination.

Outdated Employee Handbooks

Your employee handbook is of the utmost importance, not just to your HR team, but to all of your employees.

Without consistently updating your handbooks, it is probable that employees won’t follow many of the organization’s rules or regulations. However, they can’t be to blame if they never knew what they were doing was wrong.

Your employee handbook should be up-to-date with policies, PTO and holidays, pay schedules, and benefits offerings, among other things. Asking employees to review and acknowledge updates to the handbook is also important in keeping them informed on all current policies.

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Asking for Help

There is no such thing as the perfect HR professional—everyone needs a little help sometimes. Being too proud and not being able to ask for assistance when it’s needed is a bad human resources practice.

Considering all of the state and federal regulations, in addition to organizational policies, it’s understandable why an HR team may need a little boost. That’s where a professional employer organization (PEO) like VensureHR comes in. PEOs are masters of human resources and can help with everything from compliance to benefits. PEOs will even provide free resources like employee evaluation form templates and employee write-up forms.

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