HR Leaders: What You Shouldn’t Do in 2014

HR LeadersMost business and leadership advice focuses on the things you should do, rather than the things you shouldn’t.

In a recent post on, contributor Andrew Warren Smith suggests HR leaders start practicing the idea of limiting choices, and reinvesting recaptured time and energy into other priorities.

To begin narrowing down areas of focus for 2014, he offers the following list:

#1: Choose a single thing to stop doing in 2014: At the organizational level, Smith challenges leaders and their teams to focus on a single activity to eliminate in 2014. Trimming away unsuccessful incentive programs, eliminating unnecessary processes, and focusing on efficiency will free up time and resources that can be reinvested towards achieving other business goals.

#2: Don’t let 2014 be a repeat of the past: Look carefully at the perspectives and viewpoints that make up your industry, and challenge yourself and your executive team to think differently.

“Embrace the business leaders in meaningful and practical dialogue about the year ahead and gain their commitment to doing something different.”

#3: Stop “DOING” and “DELEGATE”: As workloads increase and deadlines begin to mount, delegate as much as you can as opportunities for career and leadership development for your various teams.

“What sorts of development opportunities could you create for your team if they took on something new?”

#4: Stop investing in non-integrated interventions: Align HR initiatives behind business goals. As business priorities changes, the core HR tools should change as well.

“If the initiative you are working on is not tied to a 2014 business priority or links to another major HR initiative, consider delaying or discontinuing further investment,” says Smith.

#5: Don’t depend (entirely) on your same networks: Be strategic about building the power of internal and external networks, including social media. Think carefully about who you need to connect with to get things done, but be open about connecting with people with vastly different views and perspectives.

In a digitally connected world, businesses have greater access to potential hires and partners than ever before.

#6: Don’t delay: “As HR professionals, we must act and act faster than we did last year. We must understand our customers and anticipate their needs, using 2014 to take one step closer to that future state.”

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a hiring initiative or a marketing push. The goal is always accelerated growth, and a strong return on the resources invested.

#7: Stop investing in everyone equally: Allocate resources where they’re needed most, and prioritize initiatives for the best possible outcomes.

“Broad training and development initiatives play a vital role in an HR development strategy, but so does accelerated development for a small portion of the organization with the highest potential to lead the business into the future.”

#8: Don’t lose your talent: Understand what really motivates the best talent and keep motivating them! If there’s high levels of attrition in your business, you may need to get creative to achieve retention for the long-term. Don’t underestimate the importance of culture.

#9: Don’t let tough conversations get in the way: Having the tough conversations about poor job performance is never easy, so get your HR team involved to help communicate goals and build out plans to help employees succeed. 

#10: Don’t fear failure: HR leaders especially can help create a culture where employees feel safe about failing, especially when it comes to identifying new opportunities for growth.

Creating the freedom for people to experiment simply builds a better business. What do you think?