Company Culture. Employee Engagement. Managing Millennials. These topics have been getting a lot of press, and with good reason. Workplace processes, recruitment and demographics are changing rapidly. Things that worked fine in the past simply aren’t cutting it today. Even more frightening, what is working well today might not work tomorrow.

If you want to be successful in an ever-shifting business world, clinging to old HR policies simply won’t do.

Of course, every business has its own unique set of needs, and workplace policies should rightfully reflect them. Retail and manufacturing companies can’t necessarily offer work-at-home options. Banks and insurance companies might not be able to say yes to jeans and flip-flops. But chances are good that you have at least one HR policy or practice that’s worth re-visiting in order to make your company more appealing to current staff and potential new employees.

Not sure where to start? Here are two things to cast aside if you’re interested in attracting and retaining top-notch talent.


1.) Unfriendly hiring practices

Your hiring process says a lot about who you are as a company. An ineffective, unprofessional or exhausting interview process will send fantastic candidates running. Away, that is.

If you require five years of experience, three separate interviews, and a 1500-word essay for an entry-level position, you’re either going to scare applicants away or create an illusion that the opportunity is more lucrative or significant than it actually is. Of course, you need to find highly capable people, but the last thing you want is a top candidate who turns you down or high-potential new hire who feels bored and disillusioned two months into the job.

To attract a generous pool of appropriately qualified candidates, make sure your skill requirements and your interview processes are proportional to the position.

Employers can also miss out on awesome future employees by not moving applicants through the interview process in a timely manner. Or failing to keep them in informed. Hiring should never be rushed, but taking too long to conduct interviews, check references and make decisions will only hurt you in the long run.

You may believe your company is the gold standard and your position is amazing, but that doesn’t mean you have an infinite amount of time to snag that right person. Today’s job seekers are smart, savvy, and driven. And you can bet they’re not just talking to you. By the time you finally get around to calling your top choice back, they could already be putting their enthusiasm and talents to work for someone else.

To avoid losing out on great candidates and new hires, institute a short, but effective process and keep people updated as it moves along.


2.) Rigid time off policies

The vacation vs. sick day system may have made sense at some point, but this isn’t what today’s workforce wants. Employees aren’t interested in being sick. They’re interested being well. And that means achieving a healthy, manageable work/life balance. Which includes time off for a variety of reasons.

According to research from Morneau Shepell, 52% of incidental employee absence is not actually due to illness. Meanwhile another study found that 75% of employees surveyed chose workplace flexibility as the most important benefit their employer could offer them.

When your employees need to be out of the office, does it really matter what the exact reason is? Whether someone has the stomach flu, a sick child, or game six playoff tickets is irrelevant. The point is, that person either needs to deal with a personal situation or they need to rest and re-charge.

Not being flexible when it comes to employee time off will only cause resentment and ultimately reduce employee engagement and productivity.

Don’t force your employees to call in “sick” from the stadium. Scrap your inflexible vacation policy and come up with a paid time off system that allows for maximum flexibility and minimal lying. Even better, design it so that time off can be taken in hourly increments instead of in all-or-nothing eight-hour chunks. That way, your employees will feel free to take only the time they need, when they need it, whatever they need it for.

Switching your outdated sick policy to a PTO program is an inexpensive way to make current employees happy, recruit new talent and, according to Workforce, significantly reduce the number of unscheduled absences at your business.

Now that sounds like something worth trying.