Consistent HR practices are desirable for (at least) five reasons. First, consistency has some obvious technical advantages. For example, a company that decides to invest heavily in the training of its employees sees the added value of careful screening of applicants and practices aimed at reducing turnover. As on-the-job learning accumulates over the years, practices that reward tenure (and thus reduce turnover among employees with longer tenure) make sense. When a company uses the informal training that older workers provide to their younger colleagues, seniority-based rewards also help put older workers at a disadvantage when it comes to sharing their knowledge. As another example, a company looking to expand its workforce (hiring more women and minorities, for example) may find it relatively inexpensive to switch to a cafeteria-style benefits plan. All of these reasons relate to the consistency of one employee. At the same time, temporal consistency and inter-employee consistency have different (and quite obvious) technical advantages related to saving administrative costs.
Another set of reasons why consistency is desirable concerns the psychology of perception and cognition. From basic psychology, we know that messages are more visible and better remembered when the multiple stimuli conveyed are simple and support the same theme, as in an effective advertising campaign. Consistency, which also includes simplicity (i.e. everything follows the same basic principles), is therefore desirable because it helps in the learning process for individuals to understand what is expected of them and what they can expect in turn.
For example, because of their technology, some companies feel that they have to give their staff wide discretion in some (but not all) matters. In these cases, companies must choose whether to provide direct incentives for employees to act as desired or to use indirect controls based on the perception of mutual benefits. As for other activities performed by these individuals, the company may be able to monitor its personnel quite closely and thus control them with rules. Should a company use rules? The choice depends on how the company seeks to manage its employees in the first set of activities. If a company chooses to closely monitor activities that can be closely monitored, its employees may infer that they are not trusted and adjust their behavior accordingly by acting in a manner consistent with being untrusted. Managing the first activities with trust is compromised: Employees conclude that they are not trusted (and therefore not trustworthy) and react accordingly.
This class of reasons—largely single-worker consistency, as expressed above—can be extended to cross-worker and temporal consistency. In most cases, an employee assumes that how he and others have been treated in the past, as well as how other similarly situated employees are treated at the same time, provides good information about how he can expect to be treated now and in the future. Thus, if HR practices changed frequently or varied significantly among similar employees, the process of learning what to expect and expect would be seriously impaired.
A third category of reasons for following consistent HR practices is related to social forces. Consistency in the sense of compatibility of external social norms and preconceptions – helps learning. Individuals’ tastes and expectations are more easily shaped when organizational practices consistently (and symbolically) mimic previously internalized patterns of human relationships in other contexts, whether these patterns are similar to an anonymous marketplace (dog-eat-dog) or a family relationship. mutual care).
The fourth benefit of uniform personnel practices is related to recruitment and selection. Employees are not all the same and will do better or worse in a given organization depending on how well they fit into its characteristics. To keep turnover costs in line, the company should hope that potential employees understand the nature of the job being offered, so that mismatch and simultaneous layoffs do not result. In fact, even if a somewhat misfit employee doesn’t quit, they may be less happy and productive if the job doesn’t suit their taste in the workplace.
Consistency in human resources practices enables better initial scenes in three ways. First, to the extent that consistency promotes understanding, prospective employees are better able to understand what they are getting into at the outset. Second, to the extent that there are correlations between a given employee’s preferences—for example, someone who is comfortable with performance-based compensation also wants similar hard practices in terms of promotion criteria, benefits, decision-making power, and similar clusters of human resource practices that are consistent in matching these correlations, achieve better hits. Third, individuals may prefer coworkers who share their preferences—warm and fuzzy types may not interact well with highly competitive types—and consistent personnel practices if they lead to a homogeneous workforce. Such preferences can promote teamwork and employee cohesion.