8 Obsolete HR Practices to Update Before the Year Ends

Female manager looking at a laptop with a sense of satisfaction

Businesses from all industries had to contend with the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new normal required that you either ride the waves of change or risk going underwater. And it’s worth noting that many did go underwater.

In the United States alone, a Fed survey estimates that there were an additional 200,000 permanent business closures in the past year due to the pandemic. This is on top of the 600,000 average permanent business closures per year in the pre-pandemic era. If your business is not part of this staggering statistic, consider yourself lucky. 

However, consider yourself adequately challenged, too. You can no longer rely on your go-to business practices pre-pandemic. One such function that has changed considerably is human resources. Whether your efforts are intended for hiring or retention, you must adapt to how things are now and do away with what’s more or less obsolete, such as the following.

1. Doing phone interviews

Phone interviews hinder you from reading into non-verbal communication cues. You won’t know if a candidate is capable of engaging in eye-to-eye contact nor will you be able to see what strange tics a candidate gets into when they’re nervous. While these should not be your main barometers for hiring, they can help you decide. 

Get with the times and conduct a video interview. You have several free software at your disposal, such as Zoom. You can schedule either a real-time or recorded video interview. You can replay the video as many times as you want to help your HR staff decide whether a candidate is worth welcoming into your team.

2. Using paper documentation

Mother Nature will thank you for abandoning paper documentation. Your new hires will appreciate not having to deal with pages upon pages of physical documents too, which they might misplace. Besides, you’ll need a physical space to store these papers, and with office space not being an option right now, producing hard paper documentation may not be practical.

So go digital. You can email employment terms and contracts to new hires. They can sign these documents using e-signature software, which is just a Google search away. Once you’ve collected all necessary documents, store them in the cloud. Just make sure you’re backed by a capable IT team that can protect you from hackers. 

3. Onboarding in-person or in one-on-one video sessions

Suppose you’re only hiring a few people, a one-on-one video session for onboarding may be the best way to go since the personal interaction could foster a more reliable learning process.

However, if you need to onboard and train at scale, a one-on-one video session becomes impractical. Why not create a video playbook instead? Put everything your new hires need to know in it. Make sure it’s engaging. Your new hires can watch this resource as many times as they need. 

Onboarding in-person has become unnecessary too, unless, for example, you need your new hires to learn how to operate a piece of equipment.

4. Asking employees to fill up a manual timesheet

Automating HR is in your best interest. It’s a waste of time for your HR staff to go through manual timesheets to calculate payouts. They could use that time for more important tasks, such as writing a winning job post for a currently vacant position in your business. 

For employees, filling up a manual timesheet could be frustrating too. That’s most true if your team is predominantly composed of millennials and Gen-Zs. 

Explore time tracker apps such as Time Doctor and Clockify, among others. Most of these apps offer basic subscriptions for free – you can sign up for a free trial before choosing a package.

5. Only hiring people from or near your area of operations

Before the advent of the internet and all the subsequent technologies related to it, you were limited to your immediate area in terms of filling up vacant positions in your business. That’s no longer the case. That’s thanks to offshoring. 

You can have a team of outsourced professionals from all corners of the globe. For instance, you can have customer representatives working from different time zones so the customers of your e-commerce business get the attention they need when they need it. For this purpose, among other system requirements, you may partner with a recruitment agency in the Philippines.

6. Having a rigid work schedule

It’s time to abandon the old-school thinking of 9 to 5 productivity. Keep in mind that people have different working styles. Some function best in the morning while others work at their optimum level when the sun’s about to go down. 

Instead of forcing your team to work within a rigid schedule, maximize their potential by allowing them to have more control over their time. So long as deliverables don’t lag behind deadlines, there’s no reason why your staff can’t work flextime. It’ll be great for their mental wellbeing, which will be beneficial to your business one way or another. 

7. Not implementing a hybrid work structure


A hybrid work setup combines onsite work and remote working models to reduce people’s exposure to illnesses. However, this also provides other benefits such as improving work-life balance and restoring face-to-face communications.

Moreover, roughly 83% of employees want to switch to a hybrid work setup even after the pandemic has subsided, so it’s best to keep up with the times.     

8. Imposing dress codes

This is so 90s. Unfortunately, some organizations still require employees to show up in office uniforms. Don’t be one of them. Celebrate differences and diversity. Know that people get more creative and inspired in environments where they can be comfortable and free to express themselves. 

Final Thoughts     

The past year has tested your mettle. You have proven that you possess the business acumen to rise above a difficult situation. Remember, though, that this difficult situation might not end for good anytime soon. 

And you can’t go at it alone. You need a capable team behind you. To ensure that you gather and retain the best talents possible, say goodbye to obsolete HR practices, such as those in this list. Be a chameleon and adapt accordingly to the new normal. 

If you need help with HR and people management, reach out to Manila Recruitment

Arvin Ramos