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It’s not easy being a human resources representative. It requires wearing many hats, including hiring manager, training coordinator, speaking to employees about poor performance, filing tax documents with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and much more. Unfortunately, it’s easy to make a mistake with so many competing priorities. It’s bad enough when these mistakes make things difficult for your company in the short-term. What you really want to avoid are HR errors that can haunt the company for months or years to come.


Hiring an Employee Too Quickly


It takes time to investigate a job candidate’s background and ensure that that he or she would make the best fit for the open position. At the same time, it causes stress for the current employees the longer an unfilled position remains open. This can cause you to make a job offer to someone who doesn’t have the right qualifications after all or is a poor fit with company culture.

According to a study quoted on Inc.com, it costs $240,000 to onboard someone for a mid-level management position. That’s a lot of money to lose if that person quits or you must fire him or her a few months later.


Being Lax About Employee Privacy


As a human resources representative or manager, you naturally talk about what you do all day. However, you need to be extremely careful not to disclose employee names or details that could make it easy for the other person to know who you’re talking about. That means you need to talk about your job in general terms with anyone outside of work. It’s also important to keep things professional by never speaking of an employee in front of his or her co-workers. If you do unwittingly disclose personal information about an employee and he or she learns of it, both you and your company could face legal penalties.


Incomplete or Improper Documentation


Echoing on the above, we live in a litigious society. Employees who feel wrongly dismissed, disciplined, or passed over for promotion may seek an employment lawyer and file suit. That is why you must take documentation very seriously and keep it professional. For example, avoid any judgment or hint of bias on any written record of a conversation with an employee. Using a term such as “uncommitted” could be cover for writing up a single parent with childcare issues who can’t always work overtime.

You also want to describe the objectionable behavior and leave the employee’s personality and faults out of it. Instead of writing that an employee is irresponsible, document that he or she often comes in late and doesn’t accept constructive feedback about work projects. It’s your job to document the facts. The person reading the report can make their own assumptions.

Besides landing you in potential legal trouble, writing about employees in a way that makes them feel attacked will cause them to behave defensively. That resolves nothing and will only escalate an already difficult situation.


Outsource Your Human Resources Functions to Avoid Costly Mistakes


Palmetto Payroll offers complete HR services that we’re happy to tailor to meet your business needs. Located in Columbia, South Carolina, we serve clients throughout the state. Please contact us today and let us worry about HR issues instead of you.