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5 Signs That Your HR Processes Are Killing Employees Slowly


When co-workers hang out, someone always brings up work. And too often, it doesn’t take long for someone to bring up complaints about how things are run and how they should improve.

Unfortunately, HR is often the target of these late night critiques. A good, functional HR department works to keep employees satisfied, engaged, and driven to work for the goals of the organization. But attracting and retaining talent is a major challenge for 83% of employers today, with good reason.

An inefficient HR ecosystem means that every Friday night, your HR department ends up as the punching bag that takes a hit for everything “wrong with the office” at the local pub.

Watch out for these five signs in your HR processes. They are tell-tale warnings that you aren’t on the right path.

Sign #1: Miscommunication is Common

By definition, a process should be a steamless stream of tasks that take data from unprocessed to processed. But in reality, it rarely works out this way. Why? Largely miscommunication.

Whether it is because you are using too many communication channels, not including enough details, or have trouble with process compliance, anytime there is a lot of miscommunication, processes grind to a halt.

Take a training program process. Employees are informed via an internal portal and signs around the office. Emails are sent to department heads telling them to nominate team members. The trainer is sent a text message with the details, and the learning and development team manage the calendar through a spreadsheet. You can imagine how vital communication can slip through the gaps pretty easily.

Sign #2: No One Actually Expects a Process to Matter

HR teams often get the critique of spinning wheels for no reason. When HR processes are ineffective, it feels like people are always involved in busy work that doesn’t have any impact on the business at all.

Take employee feedback surveys for example. Most employees feel these are pointless endeavors, only created so that someone could check it off a list. Or if workplace complaints are never heard of after they are submitted, people stop caring to care.

When team members don’t see the end impact of an efficient HR process, they lose the desire to participate in them, which only makes them even less effective.

Sign #3: You Still Live in the Age of Papyrus

A system that depends on reams of paper in 2018?! That sounds like a HR system that needs to step back into the time machine it came from!

Two things HR is infamous for are promises and paperwork. The first is something people mostly don’t care about, but the second can drive even the most diligent worker mad. HR processes in 2018 can all be done electronically.

Consider one of the simplest tasks in human resources: collecting the data of new employees during their respective onboarding. If this is run through automated forms, things get so much better.

This removes all the fuss, ensures that things run smoothly, and that no data is lost. The shift to electronic ‘paperwork’ isn’t just convenient anymore–it’s necessary.

Sign #4: HR Exceeds Its Extra Email Storage Quota

Nothing screams inefficiency like a thousand unread emails. And HR is too-often one of the worst offenders when it comes to sending out too many.

Take the process of requesting time off. In a super efficient world, employees would send a quick form that is approved by a manager and HR and processed by finance.

However, what actually ends up happening is the employee sends an email to the manager who quickly approves, but forgets to forward the email onto HR. A week later, she realizes her mistake and the manager forwards the copy. But HR reviews the request and finds there are no more days remaining and needs to reject the request. The employee responds on email saying it was already approved and tickets and hotels are already bought. It takes more email to sort this out.

Emails like this float across almost all HR processes. When HR is sending too many emails, you know there is something inefficient about the way processes are set up.

Sign #5: Nothing Has Changed in 10 Years

For whatever reason, HR processes sometimes lag behind others when it comes to innovation.

Performance appraisals are a great example. Despite being proven to be ineffective, many HR teams keep running them the same way they always have. Here are signs that your performance appraisal needs to be scrapped, yesterday:

  • Rather than a means of improvement, the participants (employees, their immediate supervisors, and HR staff) of the appraisal might see it as a painful chore that needs to be checked off their to-do list before they get back to ‘the real work.’
  • Appraisals only happen at some mandated time interval, like once a year. Sudden drops/spikes in the quality of work aren’t really noted.
  • The process itself is paperwork-heavy, takes up a lot of time, and there’s no record of improvement, feedback or follow-up outside of a token interview

One of the biggest reasons HR doesn’t update processes despite better ways is that it’s often hard to do it. Either your software is limited in what you can change, or creating new forms means updating ten other systems.

Ready for a Change?

See any of these 5 signs in your workplace? Then it’s definitely time you embraced a solution that gives you the ability to transform and manage all of your processes. When you get rid of inefficiency, you start to be a positive change agent–the kind people like bragging about when they talk with their friends.

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