You want a team full of motivated employees and a rocking company culture. You're doing everything you can, but somehow it's just not working. Turnover is still high. Employees look good on paper, but seem to get demotivated no matter what you do. What could be going wrong?

Your human resources team could be the culprit. It's time to take a hard look at your company's interviewing practices.

Sometimes HR wants to "sell" really great candidates on the position. So they tell them all of the great things about being a part of the company or fulfilling the role they're trying to fill. There's nothing wrong with that on the surface. The problem arises when HR starts making promises on your behalf. Promises you can't keep, or won't keep, for whatever reason.

It happens all the time. Employees rightly feel disillusioned. What are some of the most common lies?

  • Your starting wage will be $12 an hour, but in six months that will go up to $15. In reality, the employee is lucky to get a $0.25 raise at the end of the year.
  • You're working a commission job, so your hours are flexible. In reality, the employee is expected to work from 9 to 5.
  • Overtime is completely optional. Three weeks later, the employee gets an email demanding mandatory overtime.
  • You'll know by Friday. In reality, the employee hears about the job decision in six weeks.
  • We promote from within. Some companies really do. And sometimes employees watch in dismay as an outsider is brought in to become their new boss.
  • We'll train you every step of the way. In reality, your employee's manager is handing her a manual and telling her to sink or swim.

Obviously, none of these statements are a problem if they are true. When they are not true, however, your employees do notice. They become demoralized, cynical, and bitter. They think: There it is. I'm right back with yet another employer who lies and who just doesn't care. No wonder your fun motivational method falls flat! No wonder your employees leave at the first hint of a better offer!

Most employees just want to hear it straight. If they will be making $12 an hour for the next year, that's all your HR team has to tell them. If you want them there from 9 to 5, HR should say so. If mandatory overtime is common, employees need to know, as they might need to make child-care or transportation arrangements. Let job candidates decide if they can live with the reality of your business before they come to work for you. Then, let them be impressed by your company's ability to live up to its promises.