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Seven Deadly Sins of HR

HR Departments can be essential to ensuring the smooth operations of a company. However, some HR Departments have outdated, unfair and downright terrible rules that disrupt companies and force employees to find employment elsewhere. Here are the Seven Deadly Sins of HR and why these practices should be avoided.


Sick Notes and Sick Time

Some employers get suspicious and even angry when employees take sick time. Others have policies that require a sick note to get paid time off! Who wants to go into a doctor’s office when you have a cold or flu and know there’s not much they can prescribe you? It’s nonsense.

If you’re angry because employees are getting sick you’ve got your priorities backwards. If your employees don’t feel like they can take time off when they’re sick they’ll come in and spread it around! Instead, make prevention a priority. Don’t let employees work if they are sick (practice sending them home to rest or offer the option to work from home when sick if they prefer), offer them paid time off to go to the doctor for preventative care, and install better air filters to keep the office air clean.


Social Media Posting Rules and Restrictions

Some employers are so desperate for reviews and ratings that they force their own employees to be their social media ambassadors! Plenty of employers are being forced by employers to give a good rating on Glassdoor, rank their Facebook Page, and write online reviews. Other employers don’t allow you to support competitors online or even write a review for a previous employee. Consumers can see right through this and if you want real, authentic love from customers don’t force your employees to become your make-shift marketing team.

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Employees should review and rate your business online because they want to, not because they have to. If you provide a work environment that they’re proud of, they’ll talk about it. There’s nothing wrong with making the suggestion, the deadly sin if forcing them to do it.


Requiring Death Certificates

Some companies are proud that they have rules and restrictions for bereavement pay that keep employees from pulling the wool over their eyes. How convenient that your very special great aunt just happened to die on a holiday weekend, show me the proof or it didn’t happen.

If you require a death certificate or any type of documentation to allow an employee to take time off or to receive bereavement pay, you shouldn’t be patting yourself on the back. Instead, you should be wondering why you’re hiring employees that are so untrustworthy! If you do trust your employees don’t commit one of the Seven Deadly Sins of HR by requiring proof that their grief is real.


Promotion Rules, Raise Caps and Bonuses

Some companies would rather grow fat with their expanding income then give some back to the people that are helping the company meet its goals. Although it may seem like in the company’s best interest to pay employees as little as possible, not dish out bonuses and hog all the money, it’s a fast way to lose good employees to your competitors.

Some well-known companies have strict promotion rules and raise caps. I’ve heard stories of people getting huge promotions without pay raises because the rules don’t allow them to be paid over a certain amount until they have a certain tenure. That’s absurd! If you think they can do the work and they are doing the work it doesn’t matter if they’ve been there 10 years or 10 months. Pay them what they deserve or someone else will.

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Employee Ranking

Some companies want to take the lazy way out and not rank employee against standard goals or review their performance individually. Instead, they try to cut corners and bulk rank employees! A well-known financial institution puts all their employees into groups and gives each employee a quarterly “grade” based off of their performance compared to other employee’s performance. The kicker? If there’s 5 people in your group you each get a score from 1 (failing) to 5 (excellent) but only one of you can get a 5, one can get a 4 and so on. The employee that gets the score of 1 in each group gets an in-depth profile review and could be fired. Yikes!

Anytime you stack employees against each other and compare you’ll always have a winners and a losers. You build unnecessary competition and tension between staff. Even if all of your employees are top notch, grading employees like they’re in middle school is demeaning and not fair.


Judging Candidates on Appearance

According to a study, attractive women received less interview requests from HR staffers than normal looking woman. Attractive men also received the most interview requests if they included a photo.  Considering that many HR Staffers are women (93%) and are young, it was concluded that the idea of a better looking woman working in their office turned them green with envy. This is one of the Seven Deadly Sins of HR because it can filter out qualified candidates, both men and women, based on looks.

For highly technical roles, the best candidates are the ones with the highest skill level and company culture fit. Many companies use an HR staffer as the first set of eyes on candidate resumes and unless they fully understand the nature of the role they might filter out perfectly good candidates. It’s a good practice to have the hiring manager work directly with an HR staffer to make sure they understand the role and can best assist in finding the best qualified candidates.

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Black Out Vacation Dates and “Use it or Lose It”

Some companies see money flying out the door at the thought of their employees taking time off! To discourage employees from taking their earned time off, some companies will black out vacation dates during holidays for management only then add on a “use it or lose it” policy. This means that if an employee want to take a vacation around holidays, they likely won’t get their request approved. Pair this with employees losing their vacation days on January 1st and you’ll end up with disgruntled employees.

There’s nothing wrong with restricting vacation days – it’s understandable that not everyone can be out during a holiday week. However, if you restrict days then delete any earned days on January 1st, this unfair punishment for hardworking staff. Of all the Seven Deadly Sins of HR, this is the one that discourages employees the most by making them feel like they really aren’t supposed to take vacation.



Written by

Elizabeth is the Marketing Manager at PROTECH. Comments and feedback can be directed to her at