The phrase “be proactive, not reactive,” has become a term synonymous with many elements of life and business. When it comes to human resources, being proactive is probably the first rule a business owner should be in tune to.

From a hypothetical standpoint, wouldn’t you prefer to be in the position of taking preventative measures than being forced to react to a problem that arises with an employee? Here are a few ways to take a more proactive HR approach with employees.

Meticulous Screening

One way to prevent issues with problematic employees is to be proactive even in the hiring process. By thoroughly vetting potential new employees, you can ensure that you have hired the right person for the position. Your company can perform due diligence by running background checks, and proactively contacting former employers and character references. Often times this information is requested, but never followed up on.

Involve Your Team in Hiring

Another approach can be having potential new hires come in to meet future team members. By asking behavioral questions and having them interact with your current employees you can uncover red flags or allow them to show how they can handle high pressure situations and interact with team members to solve an issue.

Combat Harassment

Establishing and enforcing firm anti-harassment policies can help prevent incidents and the legal repercussions resulting from them. You’re legally obligated to have written policies that explicitly define workplace harassment and sexual harassment. It’s your job as HR manager to make it clear that harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. Providing constant anti-harassment training to supervisors and employees is one specific measure you can take toward raising awareness of and deterring harassment.

Have a Plan

In addition to having a appropriate policies in place, it’s vital that you have a system for dealing with issues when they occur. It is important to treat all employees and complaints seriously and document all details. Your employees must trust that their complaints will be heard (and kept confidential), and that there will be no retaliation for reporting incidents.

Show You Care

As a caring HR manager, it’s your duty to make employees feel comfortable and unafraid to report any issues. Being proactive and creating an open-door policy for your employees that shows you are there for them can keep concerns from building and evolving into an issue.

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