Best practices danger

I’ve noticed that in our profession we are constantly motivated to find the “best practices” surrounding a scenario or issue. I’m sure this isn’t restricted to the HR profession, but that’s obviously what we are going to talk about on this HR blog today! I myself often support this avenue for problem solving or collaboration, but I’ve witnessed the danger to this process and thought I’d share as a reminder to all of my HR peers.

I recognize that seeking best practices is how we make the most of our resources (especially on tight budgets) and how we find out what other organizations are doing when faced with challenges we are experiencing. Those are good reasons to seek best practices, but this is a real example from this year that I want to use to illustrate the danger in seeking best practices the wrong way.

When faced with a recruiting challenge, an HR manager sought the advice of a fellow HR manager from a company that often times competed for the same talent. She asks the other HR manager “how is your recruiting team set up?” On the surface, this was a good idea. This HR manager found a trusted professional that works for a similar type company and has a recruiting team that she manages to find out how she should structure her recruiting team going forward. She gets her answer, but then she makes a mistake. She takes the answer from the second HR manager and she applies it to her recruiting team.

best-practiceWhat did she do wrong you ask? She didn’t find out how many positions the recruiting team is responsible for filling, what type of positions they are responsible for filling, how much travel does that recruiting team have to do, what steps are the recruiters actually responsible for, etc. She may have gotten a bit more information than how the team was set up, but not enough to know whether that answer was correct for her organization or not. For example, a glaring difference in the two companies is that her company does a TON of college recruiting and the company she received advice from-basically does none. This is a huge factor in determining how many recruiters you need and who should be responsible for what. Your resources look a lot different when they are on the road for 6 weeks at a time, twice a year.


Simple illustration to serve as a reminder to you that when you seek out best practices, gather the right information. Do not just copy what someone else is doing, make it fit your organization. The decisions you make as an HR manager should align with your organization’s mission and vision and it should serve your community of employees. You cannot copy and paste another organizations processes and expect the same results!

Collaborate. Don’t copy.

Where do we go from here? #SHRM15

#SHRM15 the conference is a wrap! We had a lot of fun, it was really hot, I met great people, hung out with old friends, and had a classy time!


Now that we’ve learned lots of great tips and tools and received some wonderful advice, it’s time to get to work! Where should we start? Well let’s talk about engagement.. Engagement is something we learned a LOT about this week. Let me recap:

  • Throw employee engagement surveys away
  • Use these tools to increase employee engagement
  • Send employee engagement surveys more often
  • Employee engagement is all wrong
  • Rebuild your employee engagement

we are screwed

All of these tips are from different sessions that happened at #SHRM15. Depending on who you listened to, you could be totally confused now. If you are confused, let me help you out. Let’s start with what your organization needs. What metrics are you not happy with in your organization? Where can your organization stand to improve? What works for my organization may not work for yours, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t share what we did with you. I share with you what worked for us, what challenges we had to overcome, why certain things worked better than others and then you get to decide what applies to your organization and which route you are going to try. Don’t get caught up in the mixed messages you hear at conference, rather listen closely and take notes as these presenters are sharing with you what works for them and/or their clients. Identify your internal pain points and use the best practices shared with you at conference to start building the answer for your organization.

I love conference and I get a TON of great ideas while at conference and I know you get a ton of ideas as well! What are some ideas that you had while at conference this year? What are you planning on implementing in your organization now that we are back to work?