HRM Five: How to make your employees hate you

What not to do if you want your employees to trust you, and feel invested in the organisation's success.
By: | March 25, 2018

Yamini Chinnuswamy offers five important points on everything you wanted to know about HR practices today, but were too afraid to ask. Check out previous editions of HRM Five here.


This is not, by any means, a guide an un-ironic guide to making your employees absolutely hate the organisation. Instead, think of it as a cautionary tale.

To achieve a positive workplace culture – one where employees are productive, trust you, and are willing to go the distance together – avoid doing any of the below:


1. Not paying attention

Your employees are adults, and don’t need to be monitored 24/7. But an organisation needs to know what its employees are up to. Don’t allow yourselves to become the HR team that has to sack a worker who has been missing in action for almost six years.

This doesn’t mean HR has to do regular surveillance, just that line managers and employees need to have systems in place for coaching, periodic performance review, and other engagement tools.


2. Tolerating bad behaviour

Don’t be “that guy” – the one who closes an eye when someone makes a sexist remark, or when a manager publicly hurls verbal abuse at subordinates, or when people coast through years of putting in next-to-no-work.

For one thing, it sends a message that your organisation doesn’t care about morally sound values and principles. For another, your employees will also start to feel that if they have been mistreated at work, no one will take them seriously. At the very least, you’ll start bleeding employees while grappling with a toxic workplace culture – but if things take a serious turn, you’ll end up with lawsuit on your hands.


3. Not trusting them

A friend told me something interesting recently, — “I was having a bad emotional health day, and was struggling. When I asked my manager if I could work from home that day, since I didn’t have any meetings or other commitments, all he said was ‘please proceed and take care’. No questions asked. I wanted to show that I was worth that faith he showed me. So that day, I ended up working doubly hard to finish what I needed to — and I was able to do so, because my manager had given me the space to work where it was most conducive at that point in time.”

Moral of the story: trust your employees, and they will return it two-fold.


4. Not giving back what employees put in

Let’s be real: in this age of disruption, it’s a matter of survival to be constantly pivoting and moving. But even “the best places to work” acknowledge that their tremendous results are a result of giving their employees as much as their employees give them.

Do you need them to frequently work through the night? Consider providing beds and free dinners. You want them to be up to speed on the latest developments? Think about sending them to workshops and conferences. You want them to execute a massive new project from scratch? Give them the space to do that — and make sure they know that there are rewards at the end of the tunnel if they see success.


5. Not practicing what you preach

At the risk of beating the flexible working example like a dead horse, I’m reminded of a boss I once had, who was very firmly against any such policies. Yet, she frequently worked from home herself, often calling us up from there to instruct or berate us. Such seeming double standards can confusing and frustrating to employees.

Hypocritical actions such as these demonstrate a lack of respct or professionalism, and no one appreciates that. Don’t be the HR team that harangues employees for to submit documents early, only to send out their pay checks late, or the one that expects candidates to provide every sordid detail of their lives, while only providing a copied, minimalist job description.