‘I find the biggest mistake I make … is
not employee relations, but with benefits
as they relate to legal infrastructure.’
question that HR professionals worldwide … continue to
He says that “the biggest mistake is the assumption that if
you do the operations portion of HR well, you automatically
become a business partner.” Many other commenters, both
within and outside the profession, agreed that this was a big
trouble spot. HR practitioners are “responsible for compli-
ance, but not at the expense of the businesses goals,” wrote
Tony Benjamin, founder of HR consulting frm The Grange
LLC in South Jordan, Utah.
“They need to think strategically, but they have to earn the
right to be heard by gaining experience frst,” he said. It’s a
problem, for example, if “they can’t read a budget or a [proft
and loss statement]; if they don’t understand the motivations of
their management ‘partners’ and therefore only focus on com-
pliance; or if they get so touchy-feely about employee happiness
that they lose track of the important bottom-line factors.”
A good point, Tony, but let’s not throw the “touchy-feely”
baby out with the business bathwater. At the end of the day,
a major theme from the community is that HR professionals
at all levels should hold on to their humanity—and making
mistakes is integral to that, as is having empathy for your-
self and others.
As amateurs grow into experts, they often realize that
knowing everything isn’t an option (and never was). The best
anyone can do is ask the right questions, learn from victories
and defeats, and build on their strengths. “An experienced
HR manager is confdent, personable and creates a climate
where candid expression is permissible,” wrote Donald Olson,
HRM project manager at Strategix.xyz in Sarasota, Fla. “It’s
OK to be yourself.”
Christina Folz is the editor of HR Magazine.
MORE MEMORABLE MISHAPS
There are so many ways to mess up, we couldn’t fit them all into one of our 10 themes.
Below are more examples of your favorite mistakes. Any of them sound familiar?
“Wanting to be like Netflix and asking employees to ramp up to
those standards, when the comparison cannot exist in reality.”
“Not challenging hiring managers. Too often, HMs aren’t open
to candidates with excellent skills, attitudes or abilities if they
don’t have the exact parallel experience for the open position.”
“Thinking the Millennial and Gen Y generations are the only
markets to subscribe to.” –Priscilla M.
“Becoming highly specialized ... and by natural vertical growth,
being less effective in strategic cross-functional challenges
and opportunities.” –David A.
“Thinking that their university days’ party lifestyle carries over
into the workplace ... and that their life outside of work won’t
affect … their professional reputation.” –Laiden T.
“Lack of understanding about
diversity, especially with regard to
age and veterans.”
“An unwillingness to put strong personal
opinions aside and focus on the facts.”
“Forgetting to document!” –Michelle V.
“Hiring to fill as opposed to hiring those who
truly fit in the company.” –Shelly S.
“Not embracing technology!” –Justi M.
“Not taking the time to train your employees.” –Felicia P.