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May 25th, 2011    Subscribe to comments on this post

Managing Without Regrets: An HR Perspective by Marc Muchnick, Ph.D.

By Marc Muchnick, Ph.D.

When it comes to regrets, the managerial ranks are a breeding ground.  Managers in every organization at one time or another will do things they wish they hadn’t done or fail to do things they wish they had done.  Common examples of situations that may result in regret for managers include bad hiring decisions, failure to properly use the progressive discipline process, holding on to poor performers too long, not having enough promotable team members in the pipeline, and losing good people to the competition.  These scenarios also have a direct impact on the workload and frustration of the organization’s HR staff, who time and time again may find themselves asking the following questions:

  • Why do we keep hiring the wrong people?
  • Why didn’t we document the performance issues?
  • Why do we hold on to C players when we should be upgrading our talent?
  • Why don’t we have a strong enough bench of candidates to fill the open positions?
  • Why don’t we do a better job of attracting and retaining top talent?

The answers, of course, are not so cut and dry.  But from an HR perspective, it is critical that an open dialogue and subsequent educational effort be initiated with organizational managers around how to avoid these patterns of regret going forward.  Whether it is recruiting, hiring, onboarding, developing, coaching, succession planning, promoting, or disciplining, managing without regrets is possible – but only once there is a shared awareness of what is at the root of the problems as well as what preventative actions need to be taken.

Here are a few “regret elimination” tips that HR professionals can provide to managers:

1. Wait for the right person – it’s better to be shorthanded in the near term than to hire the wrong person for the long term.

2. Cut the cord – be decisive about moving under-performers out and bringing top performers in.

3. Proactively build your bench – start developing and recruiting before the need arises so you are ready when it does.

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