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Are You Guilty of These 5 Common HR Mistakes?

There are many ways your handling of staff can derail. Avoid them and you can learn how to hire and retain the perfect candidate, and also build an inclusive work culture.  

The world might be automating at a furious rate, but people are still at the heart of every business. So if your human resources are flawed, then your business might face problems, from inefficient communications to running over budget. 

But what are some common HR errors made by managers when dealing with staff?

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1. Careless Interview Processes, from Weak Questions to Weak Internal Communications 

Mishandle the interview of a potential candidate, and you practically guarantee issues down the line. Internal conflict, a drain of time and resources, and wasted opportunities are just a few consequences of a bad hire.

Common job interview errors by employers include:

– Not asking the right questions. Go beyond skills and diplomas, advises Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore, a recruitment specialist and job agency. “[Questions like] ‘how do you respond to change?’, and ‘can you describe the best boss you ever had?’ can provide insight into the kind of workplace culture that the candidate suits best,” he notes.

– Being too formal. “Asking the candidate to share their accomplishments and passions outside of work life can elicit some understanding into how well they might fit your workplace culture,” says Mr Imbert-Bouchard.

Not involving key staff in the process. It’s crucial that line managers and colleagues can give buy-in and ensure they will work well together. 

Read Also: Job Interview Tips for Singapore Employers

2. Short-term Thinking in an Attempt to Cut Costs

Faced with a range of candidates, some businesses may choose the person with the lowest salary expectations — that helps save money, right? Not if you ignore a more qualified candidate. If you end up having to monitor and constantly solve problems created by that imperfect candidate, that could result in higher costs and drain resources. 

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3. Not Recognising and Rewarding Staff to Keep up Morale

The prevailing Singaporean work culture might seem to value a high-speed approach. But if you don’t pause after a project to evaluate how you can improve, and to thank your hardworking team, you may damage morale, with people potentially quitting as a result.

Similarly, when it comes to tangible rewards, ask — what can I offer apart from pay? 

“Flexible work arrangements — which can range from job share and work-from-home arrangements alongside individual work hours — are among the most highly prized elements of a work environment,” notes Mr Imbert-Bouchard. It shows, he says, “that the company not only recognises their employees as people with lives outside of work, but that they have a vested interest in their well-being.”

Read Also: Overwhelmed by Job Applications? Ways to Cope

4. Always Looking Outwards for Candidates

Do you find yourself often hiring externally? That can eat into your budget. One study showed that on average, a new hire costs 18 percent to 20 percent more than promoting from within. External hires can also take time to get up to speed and internalise company culture. There are of course times when an external hire can be the right choice, but it’s worth looking internally and weighing the balance.

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5. Ignoring Generational Differences in the Workplace

There are many generational differences between workers, but among the biggest, says Mr Imbert-Bouchard, is communication styles. Generally speaking, older staff tend to be more reserved, while younger members prefer a more open and collaborative approach. Learning styles also diverge.

But these differences are what make for a strong and diverse company. So embrace them. It is unwise to pigeonhole generations. As Mr Imbert-Bouchard cautions, if silos form between groups, “collaboration and idea-sharing suffer. Instead, endeavour to bring together employees who have complementary skills and diverse perspectives.


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