As HR pros we all want to work for a progressive, forward-thinking company that values its people. A company that is recognized as a great employer – or dare I say one that treats their employees “as their greatest asset”.
No HR or Talent Pro seeks otherwise.
“Man, I just want to find a company where I’m a replaceable cog in a wheel, 100% tactical, administrative and traditional – keeping the lights on. Where if employees get paid accurately and a computer or robot wasn’t purchased to do my job, it’s a good week.”
Said NO ONE, EVER.
So in our quest to turn our current company into an enviable and attractive employer, or in our quest to find another employer that exudes these qualities, we upsell. We brag about what we’ve done that’s innovative and progressive, and we share those factors of our culture that put the company we work for in the most favorable light.
And when we start looking at opportunities outside of our current employer because the grass looks pretty green on the other side of the HR fence, we also have a tendency to believe all the great stuff being said about our prospective new employer by their recruiting team. We soak up what they have to tell us through rose-colored glasses so easily convinced that surely this place will be way better than where we work now.
There are still LOTS of companies out there that don’t give two shits about their employees. They don’t care about their people, and they don’t care about HR.
But they say they do.
They really only care that there are enough people working in their business to produce what they sell, and if that’s covered then they’re cool. They minimize labor costs and provide the absolute minimum necessary to keep butts in seats.
So how do you tell if you’re currently working for one of these employers now, or less obviously considering an opportunity at a new company that proclaims to be more people-focused than your current employer?
Here are seven tell-tale signs that an employer doesn’t care about their people. These characteristics should awaken your skepticism, get your BS meter buzzing, and cause you to dig deeper into any claims that “we’re all about our people here” …
- The application process takes more than 10 minutes to complete. This is your first sign that the candidate and employee experience isn’t top of mind, and that maybe the company doesn’t care as much as they say they do about people who will become future employees.
- New employees accrue only 10 days of vacation in their first year and can’t take any of it during their first 90 days. Two words – Old. School.
- The company doesn’t invest in training and developing their people, particularly managers. We know that investing in people has a stronger ROI than just about any other investment a company can make, so if the company isn’t investing here that should tell you something.
- The company doesn’t offer a flexible work schedule or work-from-home policy. Why does the company care where great performance is achieved?
- The company has an annual goal setting and performance review process, complete with a “target distribution”. This traditional approach has been proven ineffective, so why are they still doing it?
- The company has a suggestion box in the break room for employee ideas or improvements. Why must a box be created to collect employee ideas and improvements? If employees aren’t comfortable making suggestions directly to their manager, there is a reason. And it ain’t good.
- The head of HR reports to someone other than the CEO (normally the CFO) or there is no HR person on the executive team. This might be the most important sign of all. No matter what they say, if the CEO doesn’t feel that an HR advocate is necessary and required for them and the executive team then anything else they say about the importance of people in their business is just political correctness and hogwash in terms of what they truly value.
There might be rare exceptions as to why your company (or a new employer your considering) meets some of this criteria and still holds the We-Care-About-People moniker, but if they tick more than a couple of these boxes then caveat emptor. You’re being sold a bill of goods.
What they’re saying just isn’t lining up with what they are doing, and you might be better off finding another place to invest your HR talents.
A place where their walk matches their talk.
Ed’s a career HR front man who’s advised business owners and the C-suite on developing great cultures and inspiring work environments since the profession was called “personnel.” Yeah, that makes him seasoned but also quick to call out the fluffy HR theoretical crap from HR strategies that actually work.
His versatility has taken him all over the world, continually acquiring knowledge of how to build a great company through innovative HR practices, learning mostly from real world experience and his own mistakes.
He’s the founder of HRO Partners, a HR consulting firm that specializes in guiding leaders on what they need and don’t need from HR for their business.