Five futile exercises HR should immediately discontinue

Organisations or HR continue with certain age-old practices, which actually hold back optimum performance of employees.
New technologies, new generations and newer ways of working are redefining the modern workplace. These are times when everyone expects to work in an environment that’s open, flexible and enabling. Although the world of work is rapidly moving towards automation and technology-enabled modern ways of operating, there are certain practices that are still holding back organisations in various ways and may not necessarily be required now.

Such age-old, worn-out practices at the workplace may consciously or subconsciously be impacting the workforce in unforeseen negative ways, demoralising employees, thereby hampering optimum performance. The challenge, however, is that in most cases, despite the realisation, organisations or HR hang onto these practices —simply because they have been doing it that way forever. However, there certainly are things that need to change if organisations are to survive the test of time. For the wellbeing of organisations and workforces, the things that HR really needs to get rid of are:
1) Annual performance reviews or rankings:In times of instant or real-time feedback, be it on social media with the instant likes or dislikes or shares across large networks, annual reviews at the workplace make no sense. What exactly is the point in discussing something a year later? Discuss and act ‘now’ when there is still time to improve upon and enhance outcomes. In addition, treat your employees as responsible adults and not school kids, who would require annual testing for promotion to the next grade. Annual performance reviews are pointless, insulting and culture-killing programmes that almost all smart companies are ditching now while switching to real-time feedbacks and discussions on performance.
2) Attendance record-keeping:While employees work from anywhere anytime, the concept of attendance also needs to change. In blurring boundaries between the usual work-hours and non-work-hours, it is foolish of organisations or HR to keep tracking attendance in the conventional ways. The benchmarks could now be about task completion or KRA achievements in a stipulated timeline.
3) Monitoring work hours:HR cannot afford to keep a close watch on employees, monitoring their hours spent working as work and life now blend together for most people. Although there are technologies and tools to keep track of employee work hours and productive time spent working, it is a turn-off for most people if HR consciously keeps track of when employees arrive and depart from work, but ignore the hours they spend working overtime or taking work home.
4) Enquiring about past salary:One’s past salary is private and confidential information and HR has no right to know the same or judge a person’s capabilities based on the same. In fact, it shows an HR manager’s inability to judge candidates based their talent. Pay for what people are worth and not what their past salaries are worth. Moreover, do you tell job applicants how much you make, or how much the manager that wants to hire them makes, or how much the last person in the job was paid? If an HR professional needs to know what another employer paid someone in order to judge what their company should pay them, then they’re worthless in the hiring process, as HR is all about judging the value of workers.
5) Treating human resources as human capital:Employees or human resources are an organisation’s asset, the foundation that makes the organisation stand strong and emerge successful. However, HR need not treat people like they’re numbers in a Power Point presentation or ‘human capital’ that can be sold off like a stock that’s in free fall. They’re humans after all, with emotions, families, fears and aspirations for the future. They need to be respected for their contribution to the workplace. For people who choose to invest their time and energy in the organisation, HR needs to understand and agree that the organisation’s success is all about people.