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2015 | Book

Dos and Don’ts in Human Resources Management

A Practical Guide

Editor: Matthias Zeuch

Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg


About this book

With this book, an international group of approximate 50 HR leaders, professors and senior consultants compiled their knowledge and experience in an easy-to-navigate format to allow busy HR executives finding exactly the advice they need.

Re-inventing the wheel – unfortunately – still is a common practice in Human Resources Management. Traditional literature on HR fails to provide advice based on current, real-life experience and online forums lack a logical structure. Hence, there is a clear need for a resource with practical, structured and experience-based advice on Human Resources Management.

The book also provides readers from other functional areas and job starters a realistic insight into today's HR management – be it as a personal career orientation or as a way to enrich their overall management knowledge.

Table of Contents


HR Marketing and Recruiting


HR Marketing. Recruiting.

Nicole Dessain
Employer Branding

Analyze how your major competitors have positioned their employer brands.

Matthias Zeuch
Digital Recruiting

Don’t Simply Map Existing Processes to a New Technology. Treat the Candidate as Your Customer/Understand Your Target Audience. Define Metrics. Take Decisions Based on Data, Not on Opinions. Design a Strategy. Identify and Implement Some Quick Wins with Technology. Understand When You Do and Don’t Need In-house IT. Be Aware of Technology Paradigm Shifts and the Hype Cycle. Monitor the Trends and Stay Up to Date.

James Purvis
Recruiting Events

Seize Marketing Opportunity. Treat all Applicants with Equal Respect. Keep Conversations Short. Involve Hiring Managers. Don’t Assume all Audiences are Alike. Don’t Underestimate Organizational Effort. Don’t Underestimate Information Capturing. Don’t Forget to Include Technology in the Event.

Nicole Dessain
University Relationships

Invest in Relationships. Be Mindful of Compliance Aspects. Cultivate Win–Win Attitudes and Behavior. Appoint a Liaison Officer. Do Not Overlook Less Well-known Universities or Companies as Partners. Do Not Be Limited in the Scope of Collaboration. Do Not Let a Partnership Terminate with the Departure of Individuals Who have Initially Championed It.

Soo May Cheng
Employee Referral Programs

General Advice. Consider Non-Monetary Rewards. Year Round ERP and Unlimited Referrals. Break Payments into Installments. Continuous Management and Promotion of ERP. Fluctuating Rewards and Schedule.

Brian Moll
Internship Management

Use Internships for Long-Term Recruiting. Use Internships to Freshen Up Your Company Culture. Combine with University Relationships. Don’t Use as a Low-Cost Capacity. Engage Senior Leaders and High Potentials.

Michael Griffitts
Trainee Programs

Be Certain There Is Need for Trainees. Careful Assessment. Clear Communication. Be Supportive. Monitor Systematically. Consider Replacing the On-Job Probation with Trainee Program. Do not Over-promise. Don’t Ignore the Interests of Existing Employees. Don’t Allow Mentees to Lose Their Mentors Abruptly. Follow Through to the End, and Beyond.

Soo May Cheng
Vocational Training

Ensure Cooperation and Alignment Between Companies and Schools. Invest in Education of Teachers. Don’t Exceed Demand. Don’t Use Apprentices as Cheap Workforce. Take Care of the Participants. Drive Participants’ Engagement. Blue Collar: Pay for Working Clothes for Better Branding. Implement New Teaching Methods.

Rainer Wieland
Executive Search

Be Aware of the Magnitude of Hiring the Right or Wrong Executive. Decide on a Partner—Not on a Service Provider. Carefully Decide on a Fee Structure. Don’t Only Focus on Cost. Don’t Forfeit Your Image at Your Candidates.

Lorenz Illing
Selection Methods

Tailor the Selection System to the Competencies Required for the Job. Use a Holistic Approach. Train Selection System Users. Develop an Efficient Process. Consider the Experience of the Candidate. Evaluate the System. Keep Your Methods Up-to-Date. Be Consistent. Do Not Use Information Not Relevant to the Job. Do Not Be Too Narrowly Focused.Do Not Build Too Much Redundancy into System.

Carla K. Shull

Training and Qualification


Training and qualification enhance the skills and knowledge of employees relevant to their current or prospective positions.

Matthias Zeuch
Skill Management

Create the Job Description. Develop Skill Profile Based on JD. Analyze Skill Gaps. Build on Existing Basis. Discuss Certification. Avoid Inflation of Skill Demands. Avoid Inflation of Job Families and Skill Types.

Sandy Chen
Training Management

Training Quality Management. Ask for Updates. Demand Flexibility from Vendors. Don’t Offer “Nice To Have” Classes. Conduct Periodic “Temperature Checks”. Keep it Simple.

Karen Hughey
New Hire Integration

Start Early. Use Peer Mentorships. Use Different Methods. Plan with Top Executives Well in Advance. Think About Symbolic Experiences.

Matthias Zeuch
Leadership Training

Target All (Potential) Leaders. Mix with Experiential Learning. Consider New Developments. Do Start with Entry Level Leadership. Do Prefer Several Modules. Don’t Engage Trainers Who Preach.

John van Dijk
New Learning Methods

Blend of Methods. Long Term Learning Community. Applications. Seize the Possibilities. Do Not Rely on “Classical Facilitation Methods” Only.

Laurence Baltzer
Team Development

Find the Right Triggers. Include All. Get Professional Support. Select Location Carefully. Do Not Rush. Do Not Under-estimate Organizational Effort.

Matthias Zeuch

Performance and Talent


Multiple factors determine the competitive advantage of a company: financial capital, innovations, and technologies; but there is only one sustained and not easily replicated one: talent and how it is managed. Activities in this area have the goal of always having the right people in the right positions: today, tomorrow and in the long‐term.

Nora Binder
Performance and Potential Management

Create Acceptance and Commitment to Your Assessment. Ensure Transparency and Objectivity in Your Assessment. No Work-Around. Ensure Global Standard. SMART Target. Do Not Forget Qualitative Targets. Combine Your Performance Management System with Measuring Values and Behavior. Require Leaders to Give Feedback. Avoid Surprises. Do Not Only Think Vertically. Enrich Your Potential Statement. Activate Employees. Do Not Underestimate Expectations.

Rainer Allinger, Pirkko Erichsen, Kerstin Beckers
Development Discussions and Plans

As Supervisor Providing Feedback. Prepare Yourself. Ask, Don’t Tell. Describe, Don’t Judge. Behaviour, Not Personality. Be Specific. Be Constructive. Constant Feedback. Follow-Up. As Supervisor, Mind the Difference. As Employee, When Receiving Feedback. Prepare Yourself for the Discussion. Be Open, Not Defensive. Listen and Clarify. Seek Specific Suggestions to Improve. As Employee, You Are in Charge.

Agnes Tse
Talent Development Groups

Consider Pros and Cons. Limit the Size of the Group. Involve Top Management. Manage Expectations. Track Turnover. Transparent Selection Criteria. Don’t Forget about the Graduates. Don’t Forget about the Others.

Matthias Zeuch
International Talent Development

Nurture Development. Talent Internationalization. Invest in Training. Plan Repatriation in Advance. Talent Localization. Don’t Forget Families. Don’t Make Intercultural Competence Optional.

Sylke Piéch

Coaching Starts with Listening. Coaches Are Independent. Select Coaches Carefully.

Matthias Zeuch

A Mentor Is Not a Coach. Do Define Key Roles in a Mentoring Program. Select the Right Mentors. Manage Mentees’ Expectations. Ensure Confidentiality and Focus. The Mentees Should Drive the Process. Ensure Confidentiality and Focus. The Mentees Should Drive the Process. Ensure Commitment of Leadership Team. Ensure Commitment of Mentors and Mentees. Don’t Focus on Superstar Mentors. Do Have Guidelines and Expected Results. Consider Different Types of Mentorship Programs. Ensure Matching. Set Time Frame for the Program. Avoid Favouritism.

Karen Minor
Succession Planning

Companies Should Be Doing Succession Planning for the Right Reasons. Ensure Alignment with Business Strategy. Be Clear How Strong the Process Should be. Take the Time to Develop Leadership Competencies/ Competency Model. Be Clear About Communication. Manage Expectations of Supervisors and Employees. Involve Senior Leadership. Ensure Employees are Actively Involved in Their Own Career Planning and Development. Utilize Technology. Quality Is Key. Invest in the Individual Development. Motivate Candidates. Be Clear that Succession Planning Is a Long Term Process.

Ulrike Hildebrand

Engagement and Retention


Until the 1990s employee satisfaction was the most commonly used employee opinion research concept. While employee satisfaction can be understood in terms of its relationship with other drivers such as loyalty, commitment/engagement, business performance and many more, sub-concepts of employee satisfaction have gained ground ever since. There are two main sub-concepts that are of tremendous importance and are widely discussed in the literature and companies all over the world—these are “loyalty” and “engagement.” Anyhow the differentiation of employee satisfaction, loyalty and engagement is somewhat difficult to be determined since there are varieties of studies that provide more or less similar definitions. Consequential the one cannot precisely be separated from the other. As it is the case for many research areas, trends rise and fall at times appropriate.

Janina Schönebeck, Manfred Schönebeck
Employee Surveys

Frequent and Consistent. Avoid Off-the-rack Questionnaires. Keep It Short and Simple. Don’t Underestimate Scientifically Substantiated Questionnaires. Don’t Forget Hypotheses Postulation. Create Acceptance. Be Aware of Relation Between Measurement Results and Management Reaction. Don’t Forget Communicating Results. Don’t Be Frustrated by Bad Results.

Janina Schönebeck, Manfred Schönebeck
Retention Tools

Find the Factors Behind Employee and Manager Satisfaction in Your Company by Using Customized Satisfaction Questionnaires. Don’t Wake Up Too Late: Be Aware of Your Employees’ Plans to Change. Pivot Retention Relevant Value Propositions. Don’t Only Focus on Fundamental Retention Philosophy: Do Also Invest in Dynamic Change Management. Don’t Ask, Who Is Worth the Effort—This Is a Hazardous Question—Do the Best to Empower Team Spirit.

Manfred Schönebeck
Cultural and Social Activities

Strengthen Employee Relations. Don’t Expect Your Employees to Sacrifice Free Time. Don’t Force People into Activities. Discover Positive Effects of Community Initiatives. Don’t Underestimate Impact of Business Partner Relationship. Cooperate with Employee Committees. Avoid One-Size-Fits-All Approach.

Olaf B. Tietz
Employee Care

You Hire a Family. Seize Important Moments in Employees’ Personal Lives. Health Care Seminars—Kill Two Birds with One Stone. Overly Generous Gifts. Don’t Forget People. Consider to Pay Special Attention to Top Management and Top Performers.

Jens Peisert
Idea Management

Think Beyond Suggestion Box. Create an Open Environment. Give Ideas a Chance. Idea Management Is More than the One Big Idea. Think Cross-Functionally. Pursue Your Ideas. Define a Transparent Policy. Don’t Force Ideas. Don’t Allow for “Second Salary”.

Ute Gallmeister
Rewards and Recognition

Culture Counts More than Financial Value. Make Decision Process and Reasons Transparent. Consider Non-monetary Recognition. Invest in Communication. Hand-over in Public. Don’t Mix with Compensation Tools. Don’t Underestimate Workload and Attention.

Rainer Schaetzle

Compensation and Benefits


Compensation is the loudest form of communication within your company. The business strategy needs to be supported and compensation and benefits are a strong way of doing so. Any misalignment will drive the company in the wrong direction.

William Eggers
Job Evaluation

Job Evaluation—What It Is and What It Is not! Management Involvement. Criteria to Be Used.

Konrad Reiher

Do Spend Some Time on Defining Your Peer Group. Differentiate by Location. Differentiate by Industry. Differentiate by Function and Job Size. Do Not Stop at Cash Compensation. Do Benchmarking Regularly and Consistently. Don’t Exchange Salary Data Directly with Competitors. Don’t Use Cheap Data. Do Challenge Your Survey Provider(s). Do Benchmarking Internally as Well. Don’t Be Afraid if Pay Is Below the Market

Thomas Gruhle
Base Salary

Check Your Base Salary Positioning Regularly. Define Your Peer Group Carefully. Differentiate by Location and/or Industry. Check Local Rules and Regulations. Link Salary Movements to Performance and Market-Pay Ratios. Define What You Want to Communicate Carefully.

Andreas Hofmann
Bonus Plans

First Decide What You Want. Target vs. Actuals or Actuals vs. Actuals? Consider Overall Company Performance. Consider Team Performance. Consider Individual Performance. Make Achievements Transparent. Don’t Make It a Science.

Thomas Haussmann
Long-term Incentive Plans

Align with the Corporate Strategy. Be Clear About the Role of Performance. Consider Different Payment Vehicles. Mind the Cost vs. Value Gap. Don’t Overcomplicate. Restrict Eligibility. Invest in Effective Communication.

Eric Engesaeth

Do Have a Global Competitive Positioning Target for the Overall Benefit Package. Do Know What Everyone Else is Offering—and then Differentiate. Do Check Local Rules and Regulations. Do Think Win–Win. Do Focus—Less Is More. Don’t Take a One- Size- Fits- All Approach. Don’t Underestimate the Need for Communication and Education.

Lisa Emerson, Yvonne Prang
Expatriate Management/International Assignment Policy

Start with Expectation Management. Global Policy for Local Execution. Better Big and Flat. Don’t Sell the Story that All Differences in Cost and Living Will Be Compensated. Don’t Underestimate the Emotional Part. Don’t Underestimate International Taxation.

Jürgen Czajor

Administration and Payroll


This area encompasses all operative processes which are necessary to employ people. It starts with entering new employees into the company’s systems, capturing all changes regarding the employment conditions for the employee (e.g. salary, work time, location, benefits eligibilities) and ensuring that all these are being accurately followed up on (e.g. payment of salary, granting of benefits, data reporting, taxation).

Matthias Zeuch
HR IT Systems

Use Self-Services and Self-Updates. Focus on User-Friendliness. Avoid Data Redundancy. Cheap Can Be Expensive.

Matthias Zeuch
HR Process Management

Map HR Process. Mind the Workload. Combine with Education in HR. Carefully Select IT Systems. Take Time to Create Top-Level Processes. Think About a User-Friendly Interface. Don’t Underestimate Acceptance Problems.

Matthias Zeuch
Shared Services—Outsourcing

Be Aware of the “Outsourcing Threat”. Ensure a Realistic Balance of Quality Expectations and Cost Reductions. Explore Opportunities for Shared Services Before Outsourcing. Consider Reasonable Outsourcing. Require Documentation and Back-up Capacity from Outsources. Don’t Underestimate the Need for Retained Capacity.

Heike Hartrath

Monitor Performance. Avoid Cryptic Pay Slips. Use Pay Slips for Employee Communication. Train Payroll Staff in Customer Service.

Matthias Zeuch

HR Governance and Compliance


When doing business, companies must abide by applicable laws and rules. Furthermore, companies are more and more expected to be “fair” and “transparent” from the perspective of civil society.

Julia Borggraefe
Business Ethics

Make Ethics and Values Tangible. Demonstrate Ethical Behavior Top–down. Train the Decision Makers. Adapt the Incentive Structures to Your Values. Communicate Regularly and Openly to the Stakeholders. Do Not Reduce It Just to “Compliance”. Don’t Forget Cultural Differences When Communicating. Don’t Overpromise.

Josef Wieland
Policies and Guidelines

Cover All Areas. Mind Both Internal Rules and External Rules. Changes in Policies and Labor Guidelines. Make Transparent and Always Accessible at All Times.

Nicola Mackin
HR Compliance

Ensure Legal and Process Compliance at All Times. Integrate HR Compliance into the Whole HR Value Chain. Drive a Compliance Culture Within the Organization. Do Targeted and Customized Communication. Do Regular Risk Assessment/HR Compliance Self-assessment. Have a Transparent Set of Rules and Regulations in Case of Violations. Don’t Use Non-compliance as Excuse. Don’t Exclude Individuals or Employee Groups from the Scope. Don’t Say: “HR Compliance Is Expensive”. Don’t Do a “Little Bit” of HR Compliance.

Eckart Jensen
HR Audit and Investigations

Handle and Communicate with Care. Give the Utmost Support. Do Not Forget the Debrief.

Bernhard Balz

HR Strategy and Change


HR Strategy. Change Management.

Oliver Grohmann
HR Strategy

Align HR Strategy with Overall Company Strategy and Market. Bring Your Own Topics to the Table. Describe Goals for Both, the HR Function and the Organization. Don’t Underestimate Buy-in and Communication. Don’t Make It Too General, but Focus on the Specific Situation. Example 1: HR Strategy for a Growth Market “Support the Planned Growth of Our Business”. Example 2: HR Strategy for a Declining Market “Keep the Lights on in Times of Crisis and Retain Top Performers”. Don’t Forget to Measure.

Oliver Grohmann
HR Communication

Furnish Your HR Team Members with Arguments and Reasons. Do Plan and Execute a Waterfall Communication on Important Topics. Don’t Forget to Talk About Your Achievements. Don’t Underestimate the Impact of Your Statements.

Matthias Zeuch
Business Partnership

Mutual Respect. Understand the Needs of Your Partner in Business. Frequent Communication. Don’t Try to “Sell” to Your Partners in Business.

Matthias Zeuch
Change Management

Holistic Approach. Ensure Change Management Capabilities. Don’t Underestimate the Operational Aspects of Change. Don’t Underestimate Inter-Cultural Aspects. Mind the Waterfall Effect.

Matthias Zeuch
Organizational Development

In organizational development processes, major changes regarding the organizational set-up and/or processes within the company or with its partners be decided. HR has to be part of such processes, bringing in the expertise about the workforce, their competences and emotions.

Matthias Zeuch
HR Transformation

Keep the Ball Rolling. Don’t Get Stuck in Discussions about the Role of HR. Align the HR Operating Model with the Company Operating Model. Don’t Address HR Transformation with Ad-hoc and Single Measures. Don’t Stay on the Surface. Create an Effective HR Top Team. Keep in Mind: “It Takes Two to Tango”

Christian Weiss
Labor Cost Reductions / Crisis Management

Consider Involving Labor Representation Early. Carefully Balance the Burden between Management and Staff. Clearly Define Scope and Base Line. Don’t Be Liberal with Exceptions.

Matthias Zeuch
Workforce Planning and Controlling

Clear Scope. Link to Company Strategy. Job Families/Cluster as Basis. Focus on Pivotal Roles. Identify the Strategic Capabilities. Get the Data Right. Collaboration Needed. Avoid Too Much Complexity. Don’t Regard a Spreadsheet as the Right Workforce Planning Tool.

Christian Weiss
Mergers–Acquisitions–Joint Ventures

Get Involved Early. Soft Aspects Can Become Hard Aspects When They Impact the Bottom Line. Don’t Proclaim Your HR Strategy, Policies and Processes as Being the Only Way Forward. Resist the Pull to Assimilate. Never Tell the Acquire that It Will Be Business as Usual.

Lynn Schuster, Maureen Hunter
Dos and Don’ts in Human Resources Management
Matthias Zeuch
Copyright Year
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Electronic ISBN
Print ISBN

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