No one in Human Resources is immune from making mistakes. However, having the right training will help one avoid the pitfalls. A Masters in HR will go a long way to ensuring a trouble free career in the Human Resources industry.

Most Human Resources matters involve the possibility of making mistakes, some silly and avoidable with the proper training. So what are the biggest mistakes a Human Resources manager can make during his or her career?

Lack of Communication

A common problem is the lack of communication from senior management and the Human Resources department. This can cause many problems in particular with disciplinary matters. It is important for HR managers to meet with senior management on a regular basis to discuss overall policy regarding employee matters.

Without the proper communication the Human Resources department can develop a lack of understanding of manpower plans and projections. This could lead to over staffing and therefore unnecessary issuing of redundancies, or on the other hand under staffing which can cause the loss of orders and confidence of clients in the company.

Communication is also key for understanding what the managers are looking for in potential employees. If the HR department doesn’t know what to look for, it leads to a lot of wasted time due to inadequate sifting and sorting of resumes, and interviewing of unqualified candidates.

Insufficient Education

A huge problem with some HR departments is the staff lack formal education regarding human resource matters. Some have members of their staff who have only read a couple of books on HR matters. Ideally, all human resources managers should have a Masters in HR, or at the very least some formal training in the Human Resources field. This industry requires detailed knowledge of employment practices and current employment law, knowledge of payroll systems, disciplinary practices and company policy. All of this can be very difficult to learn on your own.

Failing to Correct HR Misconceptions with Staff

The HR department should not be seen as always on the company’s side. Instead it should seen a neutral department, a go between for management and staff. A good Human Resources department should put time and energy in adopting a good working relationship between the two.

Payroll Mistakes

Payroll mistakes are very common especially regarding overtime payments and mistakes like misidentifying and muddling names and initials of staff members. Mistakes of this type can take hours of valuable time to correct and alienate staff. It’s always best to be extra cautious when handling payroll.

Lack of Focus

A badly focused HR department isn’t going to be beneficial for anyone. Human Resources should be focused on the bigger picture and constantly evaluating working practices. This should include turnover, overtime, benefits and overall performance. A dynamic Human Resources department is a department on top of an ever changing environment, able to cope with changes in employment law and company policy.


Failing to follow strict procedures regarding disciplinary verbal and written warning to staff can cause major problems and disgruntled employees. Letting some staff get away with things other members of staff have been reprimanded for could lead to a successful claim by the employee against the company if the matter goes before a tribunal for unfair dismissal.

Breaching Confidentiality

Divulging employee information including payroll are breaches of the data protection act. This does much to undermine the Human Resources department and can leave the company open to unwanted litigation. All human resources staff should be made aware and be compliant of the company and national confidentiality policies.

A career in Human Resources is an excellent and challenging one. To be successful as a HR manager it is advisable to have a Masters in HR to both be properly educated in human resources issues and increase your chances of advancement. 

By:  Denielle Fisher --