2 HR Policies You Need to Cut

Kristi Birkeland on Oct 11, 2016, 3:00:00 AM

Company Culture. Employee Engagement. Managing Millennials. These hot topics have been getting a lot of press lately, and with good reason. Workplace processes, recruitment and demographics are changing rapidly. Things that worked fine in the past simply aren’t cutting it today. Even more frightening, what works well today might not work tomorrow.

If you want to be successful in an ever-shifting business world, you have got to be willing to see, accept and facilitate change. Whether it’s adjusting to new technologies, finding and keeping the right people, or effectively overseeing a diverse work force, clinging to old HR policies simply won’t do.

Of course every business has its own unique set of needs, and workplace policies should rightfully reflect them. Retail and manufacturing companies can’t necessarily offer work-at-home options. Banks and insurance companies might not be able to say yes to jeans and flip-flops. But chances are good that you have at least one HR policy or practice that’s worth re-visiting in order to make your company more appealing to current staff and potential new employees.

Not sure where to start? Here are two things to quickly eliminate if you’re interested in attracting and retaining top-notch talent.

1.) Harrowing hiring

Your hiring process says a lot about who you are as a company. An ineffective, unprofessional or exhausting interview process will send fantastic candidates running. Away, that is.

If you require five years of experience, three separate interviews, and a 1500-word essay for an entry level position, chances are you’re going to do one of two things: a.) scare applicants away, or b.) build an expectation that the opportunity is more lucrative or significant than it actually is. Sure, you’re looking to find highly capable people, but the last thing you want is a top candidate who turns you down or whip-smart new hire who feels bored and disillusioned two months in.

Keep your skill requirements and your interview process properly geared toward the position to make sure you get a generous pool of appropriately qualified candidates.

Employers can also miss out on awesome future employees by not moving applicants through the process in a timely manner and/or failing to keep them in the loop. Hiring should never be rushed, but taking too long to conduct interviews, check references and make a decision will only hurt you in the long run.

You may be convinced your company is the gold standard and your position is amazing, but that doesn’t mean you have an infinite amount of time to snag that right person. Today’s job seekers are smart, savvy, and driven. And you can bet they’re not just talking to you. By the time you finally get around to calling your top pick back, they could already be putting their enthusiasm and talents to work for someone else.

To avoid losing out on great candidates and hires, institute a short, but effective process and keep people informed and updated as it moves along.

2.) Vacation vs. sick days

This system probably seemed logical to someone at some point, but in today’s working world, it just doesn’t make sense. Employees aren’t interested in being sick; they’re interested being well. And that means achieving a healthy, manageable work/life balance.

According to the 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study, 75% of employees surveyed chose workplace flexibility as the most important benefit their employer could offer them. Meanwhile, research from Morneau Shepell found that 52% of incidental employee absence is not actually due to illness.

When your employees need to be out of the office, does it really matter what the exact reason is? Whether someone has intestinal distress, a barfing toddler, or playoff tickets is irrelevant. The point is, that person either needs to deal with a personal situation or they need to rest and re-charge.

Not being flexible when it comes to employee time off will only cause resentment and ultimately reduce employee engagement and productivity.

Don’t force your employees to call in “sick” from the stadium. Scrap your vacation policy and come up with a Paid Time Off system that allows for maximum flexibility and minimal lying. Even better, design it so that paid time off can be used in hourly increments instead of in all-or-nothing eight-hour chunks. That way, your employees will feel free to take only the time they need, when they need it, whatever they need it for.

Switching your outdated sick policy to a PTO program is an inexpensive way to make current employees happy, recruit new talent and, according to Workforce, significantly reduce the number of unscheduled absences at your business. Plus, you won’t have to hear about everyone’s intestinal distress in great detail. It’s a regular win-win-win!

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Topics: HR Strategy