5 Signs of a Failing HR Department

failing hr department

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What the hell is HR doing? Have you ever asked yourself that at work? Do you trust your HR department, or are you a logical philosopher and you think HR pretends to be your friend but will stab you in the back in the interest of the company? HR is definitely or at least it definitely should be a hot topic at the office.

A well-run HR department can make a huge, positive difference to your business. Legal problems can be avoided, finances can be improved, employees can feel comfortable and productive, and valued for their work. Customers and clients will notice the effects of a business with a strong culture of excellence. However, not all HR departments are as effective as they should be.

Today we’re looking at the top 5 symptoms of a failing HR department and their significance to the success of the company.

failing hr department

1. Insufficient communication with employees

Statistics show that 86% of the problems in the enterprise are caused by the lack of effective collaboration and communication. Communication is the higher level of management, and many business management problems are mostly caused by insufficient communication.

Good communication can lead to harmonious office relationships, successful completion of work tasks, and achievement of performance goals. Poor communication can lead to poor productivity and high cost. As the bridge between employees and employers, it’s the HR department’s role to establish a benign communication environment.

Without communication skills, the HR department can cause labor disputes between employees and the enterprise. When this happens, it is good to seek advice from experts on how to handle this situation.

2. High employee turnover

Whether it’s because of employees being fired or choosing to leave the company for another job, a high turnover rate falls under the symptoms of a bad HR department. If many employees are fired or replaced then the hiring or onboarding process is flawed. If many employees leave the company for other jobs then the work atmosphere, compensation, or reward structures are flawed. After all, the key responsibilities of HR are to attract and retain good talents.

According to The American Society for Human Resource Management, the cost of replacing a highly educated executive is 213% of his or her annual salary. Turnover is often higher at the lower levels of the pyramid and less likely to be taken seriously by executives, but it is just as costly to the organization and less easy for executives to find a cure. Every “skilled worker” turnover in an organization should not be underestimated.

While employees are more likely to leave bad managers than bad jobs, an effective HR department allows managers to do a good job of direct reporting. As employees leave one after another, it is HR’s job to investigate what may have caused the employee to leave – whether it was poor management, unreasonable pay, and benefits, a hostile work environment, or any other reason.

These investigations must be conducted ethically and must address any legal issues related to harassment or unfair treatment. If the HR department fails to find the root causes of high turnover rates and is unable to effectively address issues, it may decrease employees’ sense of belonging and passion. 

3. HR work done by other departments

It’s the HR department’s job to help managers write job descriptions, create, and enforce internal policies, and record performance. They also need to make changes and adjustments to the department. Whether it’s hiring more HR staff or clarifying the responsibilities of existing staff, HR needs to do it all.

Even if it consists of only one person, your HR department needs a skilled HR representative to lead it. If this person is not trained or educated in HR, he or she will not be able to achieve your HR goals. Therefore, when other departments start doing the work of the HR department, it may not be a labor cost savings. It is imperative to hire professionals with HR experience or if you don’t have the resources to hire someone full time, consider outsourcing your HR department or some of its responsibilities to a third-party HR professional.

4. Bad management of employee handovers & onboarding

There are many blind spots in the job handover process. HR’s job is to ensure a smooth transition. Everything from handling the onboarding of a new hire to the handover of a departing employee’s responsibilities, tools, documents & know-hows. 

Perhaps one of the most aggravating signs of a failing HR department is the sight of a brand new hire isolated at their desk, without tasks, feeling lost and confused about their role in the organization.

While onboarding issues can result in wasted time and money, a potentially much more severe offense is a botched handover of work from departing employees. For instance, if an accounting position handover is not handled properly the company can be in big trouble as they are legally responsible for any problems with their bookkeeping.

5. Inconsistent Performance Appraisal

If a company has inconsistent performance appraisal, it is easy to cause dissatisfaction of employees when issuing salaries, thus hindering the growth of the company.  

Performance appraisal helps the company achieve its strategic goals and promotes its growth. It also helps the company to cultivate talents and retain them. Many HR departments believe that the deficiencies of the performance appraisal system will only be addressed when they fire employees. But what they should do is to consistently document and use policies and procedures to help struggling employees thrive.


Our bilingual legal and HR team takes care of your employment compliance in China so that you can focus on your business growth. Whether or not you have an entity in China, we have fully compliant and cost-effective solutions to manage your HR. We provide professional HR services in China, including but not limited to payroll, tax, benefits, and recruitment.

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