HR Pros often get the rap as the “tattle tales”, “the killjoys”, and “the wet blankets.” Sure they keep the rules in check, but did you know the HR Pros are often the ones fighting for your rights as employees? The HR Pro is usually stuck playing middle man/woman in the workplace. Balancing both the needs of the employees and the demands of the big wigs in the company.
Here are a few things HR representatives wish they could say to their employees but never do:
1. “I really do care whether you like me.”
I respect your opinion of me, and I want to be someone you can easily talk to, but I can’t divulge personal information about other employees to you. It’s not because I don’t like conversing with you, I have legal obligations to keep employee information confidential.
In the same sense, if you tell me something concerning for the sake of the company, I may have to take it to the higher-ups, not because I’m a tattle tale, but because it’s my job. In fact, there are often formal complaint procedures in companies that I am required to follow. But I still want you to like me.
2. “I don’t think I know everything.”
A few people stepped in, without being asked, and made a huge difference in my professional life with sage advice at the right time. For this, I will always be grateful and I want to pay this forward!
So I don’t offer you advice because I think I’m all knowing or perfect at my job. It may be because I see something special in you, and I’m repaying the debt I owe to the people who helped me or it could be because I want to help you avoid a crucial mistake I once made. Sometimes the advice I give you can be a great insight into your next meeting with the higher ups, as I get to see the company through a lot of different lenses. Use my advice to your advantage! That’s why I’m offering it.
3. “I’m not the ‘fun killer’.”
You don’t have to lower your voice and pretend to be working really hard when I walk by. I know it’s possible to perform at a high level and have a little fun at the same time. You don’t have to avoid me like the plague, you can have fun but at a measurably responsible rate. I can take a joke too (as long as it’s appropriate for the workplace.) While it’s my job to ensure that you have a great place to work and the company is able to have a productive and efficient workforce, I’m not your manager, so chillax.
I understand that when you enjoy what you do, it makes you feel a little better about our company and about the environment and culture we’ve created. I get to feel like I’m part of something more than just the “rules police.” 72% of employees said they viewed their HR department as the “puppet” of the executive team. Please don’t be one of them.
4. “Don’t be jealous, my work isn’t easy.”
I may not put out tangible work, like a writer or a programmer, but that doesn’t mean my job is simple. I have to make sure every new employee has his or her paperwork in place, handle complaints about employees about supervisors, deal with maternity and sick leave, work with legal on thorny safety and compliance issues and tell the gentleman in the corner office to PLEASE put on some deodorant…oh yes, and remember to plan the Christmas party. In fact most of the time, I’m thinking of different ways to improve employee processes, recruiting, benefits, compensation and employee relations. But don’t worry, I love what I do!
5. “I’m not constantly looking to replace you.”
Job-hopping may be a fact of business life, but as an HR Manager, it’s a fact of business life I’m not crazy about. I don’t see you as a disposable part or as easily replaceable. When you leave, sometimes a part of me feels like I’ve failed. On the other hand, it’s my job to recruit new hires that will project the company’s image and assets in the best light. So I work even harder to lower retention numbers and facilitate better communication in performance reviews and daily interactions. Job turnover in companies with great company cultures is only 13.9%, compare that to 48.4% turnover at companies with poor company culture. I want to oversee the company is doing the best it can, with quality employees.
6. “We sell what we can sell.”
I know you despise filling certain types of orders or doing certain types of work. It’s aggravating, it makes you fall behind, it makes it tough to hit your targets and goals… it’s a pain. But we all have jobs to do and these are the jobs that pay the bills.
Sometimes the jobs that take the most time are actually the most profitable for the company. And even if they aren’t that profitable, sometimes the least desirable work (from your point of view) is the only work the company can sell. It’s my job to make sure you’re doing this work in a professional manner and not utterly miserable. Know that not everyone loves the less desirable jobs, complaining about it only makes it worse and brings down company morale. However, if we all work to bring each other up through even the least desirable of jobs, we can achieve so much more.
Your turn. What do you wish your HR Pro knew about your life?