People talk about bad habits of employees in an organisation and how it is affecting such employees’ career. Much research has been carried out under different titles about employees’ bad habits (attitude) at a workplace. However, little has been done to address the toxic HR habits in most organisations that need to be addressed. Over the years, we have failed to address the HR habits that could be having a seriously negative impact on organisation performance and productivity. Sometime, a high performing employee may decide to leave due to bad HR habits in an organisation.

Here are some harmful HR habits that your organisation needs to drop this year:

1. Improper or Poor Communication Habit

The cost of bad communication in an organisation cannot be overemphasized. An article by Holmes Report reviewed that of the 400 surveyed corporations in the U.S. and U.K., a cumulative cost per worker per year due to productivity losses resulting from communications issues was $26,041. It stated further that companies that have leaders who are highly effective in communications had 47% higher total returns to shareholders over the last five years compared with firms that have leaders who are the least effective in communication.

Effective communication is all about ensuring that the message is properly disseminated and clearly understood by the listener(s) in a way that will prompt them to act on it. It may require some hard work, but there is no better option as you cannot do without communication; everything the HR does is about the people to get them accomplish organisational goals and it is through effective communication.

The only channel through which you connect the dots for employees between their roles and expectations, and the big picture of the business goals is strategic communication. Poor communication can be costly to your business as it wastes your employees’ time and energy and must be dropped in 2017.

2. Not Rewarding and Recognizing Good Work


Recognition does not necessarily mean giving an employee a promotion or a raise, even though most employees work towards that.  Sometimes, the simplest things can go a long to make employees happy than a monetary reward. Most employees crave for feedback and want their contribution to the organisation’s growth recognised.

According to a research by BambooHR, “82 percent of employees don’t think they’re recognized for their work as often as they deserve.” Your inability to show appreciation to your employees can make them feel unimportant. So, if you see hardworking employee, let the employee know. Even telling an employee, “wonderful job today!” on your way out the office, can make them feel recognised for all the hard work they are doing. Remember that one of the roles of HR is to motivate employees to ensure high productivity and decrease employee turnover. Therefore, your HR must cultivate the habit of recognising your employees for their efforts regardless of their position in the organisation.

3. Playing Politics and Favouritism:

We all have people we like for one reason or other, but it is not professionally right to bring that to play when taking professional HR decisions. You may be tempted to put someone very closed to you on the top of the stack for a new position or a promotion, but such favours are unfair to other employees. A survey by BambooHR shows that 79 percent of employees become annoyed when their co-workers are promoted faster than they are and that 22 percent of employees who are not getting promoted at your company look to other companies for opportunities to advance their careers.

You should also stop playing politics in your recognitions and rewards programs; trying to recognise employees’ efforts based on status and influence is a bad habit that must be dropped in 2017. An article “Recognition by Half Measures Is Worse than No Recognition at All” by Derek Irvine, cited a scenario by the Charted Management Institute (CMI) in which two top British athletes Button (Formula 1) and Beth Tweddle (floor exercise, World Gymnastics Championships) were crowned world champions, but only Jenson Button (Formula 1) was acknowledged by Gordon Brown for his efforts. Though Formula 1 racing is far more publicized and watched televised sport globally than is gymnastics, but that certainly doesn’t lessen the achievements of Ms. Tweddle. This applies to all organization, it is wrong to ignore those who are performing the support roles in favour of those in more public-facing positions. Note that, if your favouritisms become common company knowledge, your professional reputation is at stake.

4. Rigidity

Professionally, HR should ensure employees comply with organisation work schedule policies, which they must have been trained on during recruitment. However, if such policies are not convenient for a healthy work life balance for your employees, staying rigid to them could result in high employee turnover. The BambooHR survey reported that 14% of employees said they will leave their present organisation if they don’t have a healthy work life balance. Therefore, HR needs to review their work schedule policies, to ensure a healthy work-life-balance for your employees. Staying rigid to an inconvenient work schedule policy is one harmful HR habit you need to let this year.


Una Lawlor is Content Marketing Manager at Advance Systems, a company that provides world-class enterprise HR software. Una has over 10 years sales and marketing experience in retail, media, finance and technology. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin with a degree in English & French, Una has extensive content writing experience and specialises in the field of people operations and HR management. You can find Una on Twitter (@lawloru) and Linkedin.