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What can go wrong in the human resources department?

  • The company may have in place both a good recruitment policy and a training program that attracts talented employees with adequate experience to the company. However, the employees who are the most treasured asset of any company may still leave the company because of other issues discussed below that are not adequately addressed by management.

These issues tend to negatively affect the working morale of employees to the extent that the goals of the company and eventually, its mission may not be achieved.

Succession plan

There are situations when the board and management do not identify critical positions within the company and implement plans to attract, develop, and retain talented successors who will fill the positions when they fall vacant. Top management fails to appreciate the impact on the company’s performance in case the talented employees who occupy critical positions leave without being promptly replaced.

Without a succession plan, it is always difficult to get replacements for talented and experienced employees when they leave the company. This implies that the key positions will not be promptly filled by competent and experienced candidates with a resulting negative impact on both employees and the performance of the company.

Risk of wrong employees

There is a tendency to rely on curriculum vitae and written applications and scoring results of the face-to-face interview process as the sole basis for selecting successful candidates. There is no obvious direct link between curriculum vitae and job application on the face of it and the ability to perform the role one is being interviewed for.

Employers should not forget that candidates can be coached to pass an interview as they can take advantage of the services of professional employment coaches that will help them in preparing the curriculum vitae and job applications including coaching them to pass an interview.

The shortlisting of candidates for interviews by both management and the board in case of senior positions is sometimes not taken seriously. The process tends to be open and hence can be interfered with by well-placed people.  Sometimes shortlisting exercise is left to very junior staff without adequate controls in place. A standard questionnaire that can easily be accessed and leaked is sometimes used.

There is therefore a need to take extra care and time to ensure candidates do not give crammed responses to questions from the interview panel. There is also a need to have adequate processes for vetting the background of candidates who have successfully passed the face-to-face interview for issues that the normal interview process will not reveal. Quite often wrong candidates get employed because of the weakness in the interview process.


A company may not have a formal medical policy and procedures that indicate the health medical benefits that the employees are entitled to and how to access them 24/7.

If the policy exists, all exclusions clauses in the medical scheme should be highlighted and promptly brought to the attention of employees. It is difficult for the company to retain staff when it does not have medical cover for staff when they are sick.

Lack of effective retirement plan

A company should have a retirement plan that takes care of its employees during their retirement. The plan should be introduced to the employees as soon as they join the company to enable them to start planning for their retirement.

The performance of employees may go down and some may eventually leave the company because of worries relating to retirement.

Employees tend to be uncomfortable when retirement is mentioned because their employers have not prepared them for it. Worries about retirement will affect the employees’ performance and may lead to staff malpractices.

No action is taken to address staff turnover

Some companies do not care when employees are leaving the company as they simply go back to the market to recruit new ones to replace those who are leaving.

No steps are taken by management to carry out exit interviews with leaving employees to establish the reasons why they are leaving the company to develop a mitigation strategy.

It is of concern to the employees when their colleagues leave the company without management taking corrective action to address the reasons that are leading to their departure.

Concern with personal security

There is when employees are faced with threats to their lives both in the office and in their homes because of their employment with the company.

It becomes of concern to the employees when the employer fails to offer security advice to them on how to handle security threats to their lives and those of their immediate family members.

The focus and performance of staff affected by threats will certainly go down and may even abruptly leave employment with the company.

The lack of concern by the employers for the security of employees will demoralize the employees leading to poor performance and eventual departure.


A company needs to develop and implement a human resources policy that will ensure that talented employees are attracted, developed, and retained by the company to ensure long-term sustainable success.