The Exceler8 HR Happenings Blog

Top 3 HR Mistakes You are Making Right Now

HR Mistakes

Yes, I know, making a mistake is a learning experience.

But it can be an expensive experience, whether in dollar terms or a loss of a relationship with your team.

It is far better if you can learn the lesson without the cost so here are 3 mistakes I hope you avoid.

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The definition of a mistake is ‘an act or judgement that is misguided or wrong’.  My clients never intentionally set out to get HR ‘wrong’ or to mistreat people……I don’t work with people who do.  My clients genuinely believe they are taking the right approach, but it is misguided and, without the right support, find it hard and expensive to recover.

99% of the time, my first contact with clients is when they raise the white flag and yell ‘HELP’. 

This delay is the first HR mistake, putting off doing something about your people.

A quote from one of my amazing clients,

‘I had put off contacting Melissa, thinking I can do this, how hard can it be…I realised it was harder than I thought. I finally decided that I needed to focus on what I was good at and let Melissa do what she is good at’. 

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I often hear these confessions, whether it is assuming it’s easy, or worst, taking the ostrich approach (ignoring it). 

Free tip, when things aren’t going well with an employee, it never gets easier.  Just more expensive and stressful.  No one has said, geez, I wish I could have held onto that underperforming staff member for longer.

It’s not about having an ecosystem of policies and endless admin.  It’s about having a framework (check out the Developing a HR Framework download) and linking your HR actions to your business strategy. 

Which leads me to the next HR mistake, assuming you are too small to worry about HR.

It doesn’t matter if you have 1 or 100 employees, if you don’t have a HR strategy and framework to support that strategy, you are not covering your risks or maximising your sustainability.

I work with a set of about 10 policies that will cover the basics of the employment relationship like:

  • a code of conduct – how you expect people to behave
  • bullying and harassment – a WHS obligation and includes contractors
  • performance and misconduct – outlining how you will deal with performance issues; vital if you need to manage someone out
  • internet, email and computer use – highlighting to staff the policies regarding the use of computers etc  in the business.
  • Leave – policies regarding leave entitlements .
policies policies everywhere

These policies support our industrial relations legislation, which we all know is not designed with small to medium business in mind.  But all of these policies give employees and business owners clear guidelines on what to expect when working here, which is a good thing.

Your business is never too small to have a foundational HR framework supporting a strategy for your people.  After all, we are all people, I hope? 

And now the third and perhaps most crucial HR mistake. Personality

I’m people and they’re people.  What’s good for me is good for them?  Oh, that is so misguided. 

How often have you looked at someone and thought, ‘What is going through your head?’ or ‘Well, that was a brain fart’.  We know we are different but it’s how we are different that is the key.  I’m talking personality and emotional intelligence. 

I use DiSC profiling.  It is a simple but powerful way to understand yourself and others. But that’s not where the magic happens.  It’s when you use the knowledge for good and building effective relationships.  Imagine knowing that just by saying a word, you could set someone off into a spiral of rage or motivate and engage them?  That is the power of understanding personality.  If you know how to influence, empower and motivate someone, you can achieve great things as a people leader.

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In isolation, these 3 mistakes seem minor.  They couldn’t do a lot of damage.  But it is a very rare for me to see these mistakes being made without others.  That is when significant damage is caused.  If you are aware of what you don’t know, have a strategy and framework and ask for help as soon as you need it, you will  not need continual People Paracetamol.  Just small maintenance dosages.

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Image of Melissa Langton - Exceler8 - HR Consultant

Hi! I'm Melissa

I'm a sought-after HR coach, advisor and strategist. I'm also the director of Exceler8. My clients call me their people paracetamol because I help them say 'goodbye' to HR headaches and 'hello' to the perfect people formula to support their business. If you're ready for HR help or transformation, please get in touch. 

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