5 Things HR Should Stop Doing Now

From ditching punitive programs to avoiding trinkets, here are five ways HR leaders can improve their workers' lives this year.
By: | January 29, 2018 • 5 min read
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I’m sure many HR leaders are thinking about setting goals for 2018—after all, it’s that time of year when people get hyper-focused on personal improvement. (It’s also the time of fad diets and new gym memberships.) And it’s a good thing to reset goals for physical, emotional, work or financial well-being—to get more intentional and engaged in our lives.

As the CEO of an employee engagement company, I too think about how I can improve myself. This year, I’ll continue my annual resolution of making more time for mindfulness. I’ll get my finances in order and play more tennis. But in addition to my personal resolutions, I’m thinking about what I can do as a leader. Or more specifically, what I can stop doing as a leader to make life better not only for me—but for my employees.


I spent a good portion of last year speaking with CHROs, consultants, analysts and other CEOs about what’s working in the workplace and what’s not. While some workplace challenges are industry- or company-specific, several universal themes emerged. Essentially, the biggest take away is that we need to simplify—everything.

We’ve over-complicated what we’ve been doing and need to adjust for 2018. Here are the five things we can stop doing this year to help us focus our energy elsewhere:

  1. Ditch punitive programs: I want to examine the programs I’m offering my employees. Employee programs are one of the top ways to demonstrate that you care about your people. But this means they need to be programs that employees love and want to use. Making employees jump through unnecessary hoops or setting up programs that are more stick than carrot will chip away at trust. If you can’t trust your employees with programs designed to help them, then how can you trust them to do their jobs?
  2. Stop piling on solutions: With the explosion of employee programs, fitness devices, health apps and more, leaders are left sorting through hundreds of technologies and questioning which ones are right for them. (And trust me, there are many winners and losers out there.) Instead of continually adding more niche programs and trying to cobble together a meaningful experience, rely on proven partnerships and look for platforms that can deliver a seamless experience for employees. And not just one that integrates (that’s par for the course in HR tech) you need one that will inspire.
  3. Avoid trinkets and trash: It’s time to say goodbye to superficial recognition and hello to authentic recognition. According to Harris Group, 72 percent of millennials prefer to spend money on experiences than material things. And this is translating into the workplace, which means the days of desk plaques and gold watches are numbered. Instead, we need other ways to recognize employees authentically for their efforts.