As time pushes forward and culture progresses, there are occasionally some laws and traditions that people have a hard time parting with.
Corporate culture is no different, says Liz Ryan, CEO and founder of the human resources consulting firm Human Workplace.
Here are four of the most egregious pieces of office dogma Ryan includes in her recent LinkedIn post, “Horrible HR Policies to Nuke in 2015.”
1. Measuring employees on a bell curve.
In a bell curve understanding of employees, there is a very small number of high performing and low performing workers, with the majority of the workforce somewhere in the middle. “You can line up a bunch of acorns according to size. People don’t stack up like that. Throwing your employees onto a bell curve in your annual performance review process is junk science at its worst,” Ryan writes.
Microsoft abandoned this traditional way of looking at things last year because it found that it was losing many of its top employees, Forbes reports. The reality, Ryan says, is that your team will not fit onto this bell curve and their salaries and potential for promotion should not be based on it.
2. Barring managers from writing references.
There has been a trend in the United States over the past several years in which companies ban managers from writing references for outgoing employees.
It’s based on a fear of lawsuits against the company. According to the train of thought: If a former employee with a positive reference does something extreme or dangerous in their new job, the first company may be seen as partially responsible; if a former employee with a negative reference cannot find a job or if it is revealed that the reference does not line up with the official reason for being let go, the company may be seen as acting illegally.
Ryan says that it’s much better to be honest with departing employees and not punish those who deserve some help. And if you “don’t trust managers to avoid lawsuits when they’re giving references for past employees, why do you let them manage your current employees?” she asks.
3. Having a progressive discipline system.
Taking a “three strikes and you’re out” approach to warning and then firing employees is “an embarrassing throwback,” Ryan says.
Treat your employees like adults and not like grade school students. When expectations are not met, have a frank discussion about what needs to change and then behave according to the specific situation.
4. Limiting inter-office mobility.
“If you limit the mobility of your employees inside your organisation by requiring them to get their manager’s approval before pursuing an internal role, get ready to lose your best employees to your competitors,” Ryan says.
Let your employees know that they are part of a company that wants them to work to their highest potential. Limiting them to a certain department will not work toward the overall team’s advantage.
For more HR policies Ryan thinks you need to finally scrap this year, read her full post at LinkedIn.
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