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Spin off - why do you think difficult conversations in the workplace automatically default to HR?


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#1 Dr Dolly

Posted 11 July 2019 - 09:42 PM

Genuinely curious - when work issues are raised, advice seems to default to ‘go to HR.’

I understand that issues relating to bullying, theft, harassment require escalation, and documentation.

However, in say the example ‘co worker who likes to smell things’.

The process would be have a conversation, make a note of time and place. If it happens again, remind them professionally, document again.

If it continues to occur, go to manager with documentation.etc.

Is it me, but it seems that rather having an adult conversation, the default position is to go/tell HR.

For transparency - My career is in the Wider HR realm.


#2 Ozquoll

Posted 11 July 2019 - 09:49 PM

Is this really a spin-off, or did you just want to have a new thread to tell those of us in the other thread who thought she should go to HR that we are wrong wrongity wrong?

#3 JustBeige

Posted 11 July 2019 - 09:52 PM

Ive locked this for Admin review. Thanks JB.

#4 Chelli

Posted 11 July 2019 - 09:55 PM

Hi,
I'm ok for this thread to remain as long as it does not keep referring to the other one. Ie, you can talk about what constitutes HR issues and what doesn't.

Cheers,
Chelli

#5 Dr Dolly

Posted 11 July 2019 - 09:58 PM

Fair enough. Thank you.

#6 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:00 PM

i’d probably rather poke a hot stick in my eye than go to our HR - they are useless oxygen thieves. completely incompetent and just create work for works sake so they can justify their continued existence. they add zero value to anything.

#7 It's Percy

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:02 PM

Isn't it the role of HR to manage the humans that work in the organisation? And by that, they have to deal with all the human issues including smelly people.

I find it a bit bizarre that someone who says they work in the realm of HR is asking this question - to me its kinda like somoene asking why the finance matters of the organisation fall to the finance department.

#8 Dr Dolly

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:03 PM

I can honestly say, unfortunately, that has also been my experience of some HR teams.



Edited for clarity.

Edited by Dr Dolly, 11 July 2019 - 10:05 PM.


#9 nasty snaugh

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:04 PM

My HR department seems to default to "not sure, speak to your manager", even when that's clearly not appropriate or viable

My advice would never be go to HR

However, if there is a decent HR department available, and I was not good at confrontation, why would I not approach HR? Is the idea not that the department should manage the human resources of a business and their interactions with each other once the actions of one person are effecting another?

#10 Dr Dolly

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:10 PM

View PostIt, on 11 July 2019 - 10:02 PM, said:

Isn't it the role of HR to manage the humans that work in the organisation? And by that, they have to deal with all the human issues including smelly people.

I find it a bit bizarre that someone who says they work in the realm of HR is asking this question - to me its kinda like somoene asking why the finance matters of the organisation fall to the finance department.


Bizarre?

it’s a good opportunity to gain others perspectives, and promote discussion.

The role of HR can vary significantly from work place to work place.







#11 Freddie'sMum

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:12 PM

When I was gainfully employed - all the workplaces I worked in were small and if we were very lucky we had an office manager.  

I thought one of the key points of HR / the office manager was to manage the human resources - ie the staff !!  It's their job to keep the lines of communication open - esp between management and the employees and to try and de-escalate small issues before they become big problems.

#12 Tinky Winky Woo

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:13 PM

In my experience with HR I would not even bother to waste my breath telling them anything.  

But I am also the kind of person who goes to work, does their job and goes home.  I try to avoid any contact outside of work with anyone I work with.  I also try to ignore anything that is said or done at work.  If someone offends me or irritates me that much, I will politely tell them to stop, or my RBF gives off bad vibes of 'do not approach me' when I put it on.

I think that there are people who go straight to HR to be 'whinger's', some who have never being told 'no' before, or even asked to do anything by anyone.  But this is not an overall view - just a select few who think they are being 'picked' on if someone breathes the same air as them.

#13 Coffeegirl

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:14 PM

For us, asking the staff to go to HR is usually to protect ourselves legally.

That way we can say that we followed our policies in dealing with the issue and ensured that both sides are heard.

However we have worked hard to have a good HR department that can manage everything from OHS issues and managing an employees return to work after maternity leave, or an injury. As well as dealing with bullying, harassment and threatening incidents.

#14 mumsoon1975

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:15 PM

In my experience, ‘work issues’ can quickly escalate from a difference of perspective/expectation to a bullying complaint or similar.

It is the role of HR to help staff in an organisation work through the minefield that is spending 8 or so hours a day in close proximity to people you may not otherwise choose to spend that much time with. It makes perfect sense to me that someone needing help to deal with a colleague on an issue relating to their behaviour would look, or be directed to, HR.

#15 2bundles

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:19 PM

In all my years of working - all 24 of them, I have never considered going to hr for an issue with a coworker etc.

Currently I work for one of the biggest companies in the country. Their first line for everything is “speak to your manager”.  There is a whistleblowing service, but other than that I would got to my one up or 2 up or even 3 up!!

#16 seayork2002

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:25 PM

If I have work issues I go to my boss/human remains I mean HR.

If I have a personal issue stealing food, using my mug, standing too close to me to talk, constantly not taking a breath and talking too fast, being annoying I sort it out myself

If not possible to sort after everything I have tried and it is effecting my work I would take it further.

I feel as an adult I have sorted most issues myaelf

#17 kimasa

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:27 PM

I'm an equal employment opportunity officer at my workplace, which basically means I'm someone who my colleagues can bounce ideas off in situations where they aren't sure how to progress. I can't act for them, but I can make them aware of the options they have, including approaching HR (and I can go with them in person if they don't want to discuss it alone).

Repeated inappropriate touching of a person and of their property, including food, especially after discussion between coworkers has been attempted and failed, is something that can and depending on the circumstance, should be brought up with HR. It creates a record of the behaviour, and in the potential circumstance where the issue intensifies there is already a record for HR to act on.

Why do you think that repeated unwanted touching of someone's body (hair is part of your body) or handling of someone's food after a discussion has occurred and failed is not an HR issue?

#18 lizzzard

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:56 PM

I understand where you are coming from OP. My academic qualifications would suggest I ‘should’ work in HR but frankly most HR roles seem to be all about dealing with fairly silly issues...

Having said that I have observed that a lack of perceived power puts a completely different spin on issues. It’s useful to remember that before judging people’s response to situations they may not feel equipped to manage effectively. I think good HR professionals support people to manage issues themselves instead of stepping in.

#19 CallMeFeral

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:57 PM

When I was young and naive I told HR about my awful boss, who was the reason I was resigning. The young and naive new HR staff member was concerned and shocked, and hopeful that once she told the HR director about the issues something would be done. Lol.
Apparently 6 months later when the 4th person in the 5 person team had resigned, she didn't even bother doing an exit interview. She knew nobody gave a sh*t about the issues, so what was the point.

When I went back to study psych from my corporate job, lots of people would go "oh you could go into HR!". I'd rather pull my nails out. I can think of nothing worse than having a genuine drive to help people (like that HR lady did) and finding out that my job was just to make them feel like the company cared when they really really didn't. I would never go to HR unless the person was doing something illegal that I wanted formally on record to protect myself.

#20 zenkitty

Posted 11 July 2019 - 11:04 PM

My HR department does two ends of the spectrum - day to day administrative HR (contracts, enquiries, sends emails reminding you to fill in forms, etc.) and serious, problematic performance management (official warnings, performance managing someone out of a role, etc). All of the intermediary personnel management is done by line or department managers.

If one of my staff (I’m a line manager) has an issue with a colleague that they brought to me I would encourage them to speak with the person. If they felt they couldn’t, or had already tried, I would speak to the colleague about what needed to change and make a note for myself about the conversation in case the issue went further. If the behaviour continued I would escalate to my department manager with details of what had already been tried. They would then escalate to HR if necessary, which is I guess why my HR department only gets involved once things are bad - we’ve already had 2-3 attempts at changing behaviour by then.

The only things that tend to go directly to HR are issues staff have with managers, and it’s reasonable that people are concerned that dealing with that within the department may not lead to a satisfactory outcome.

#21 BornToLove

Posted 11 July 2019 - 11:19 PM

I also agree that HR is quite useless for real issues (bullying, harassment, unethical behaviour etc). I think in those circumstances an exit strategy is more fruitful than going to HR.

However, I have personally found HR to be an effective circuit breaker for minor issues that need addressing. Stuff like noisy talkers in a open plan office, stolen lunches, strong odors, others getting into your personal space, etc.

It isn’t so much me wanting to avoid personally confronting the issue, I always address it myself first. However, I find HR has a level of authority that others seem to take more seriously if my request hasn’t been respected.

#22 Mollycoddle

Posted 11 July 2019 - 11:38 PM

View PostIt, on 11 July 2019 - 10:02 PM, said:

Isn't it the role of HR to manage the humans that work in the organisation? And by that, they have to deal with all the human issues including smelly people.


Actually it isn't. It's the role of, well, managers. HR deal mainly with bigger picture stuff that has the potential to affect the whole organisation, not relatively petty individual grievances.

Having said that, I am aware of a situation in an organisation (borderline bullying) where the aggrieved party's direct supervisor advised her to take the issue to HR. At that point, ie with the alleged perpetrator not yet having even been spoken to by the supervisor (same boss as the aggrieved person) it just seemed like a cop-out to me.

Edited by Mollycoddle, 12 July 2019 - 12:00 AM.


#23 SeaPrincess

Posted 11 July 2019 - 11:52 PM

HR should be able to advise on the appropriate course of action within the relevant legislation, even if they don’t opt to step in and deal with a particular issue themselves. If an issue escalates, it’s better to have it recorded with HR early so that formal performance management procedures can be implemented rather than suck it up and hope for the best, and HR will need to get involved in those even if the manager addresses it with the individual.

#24 Mollycoddle

Posted 12 July 2019 - 12:02 AM

View PostSeaPrincess, on 11 July 2019 - 11:52 PM, said:

HR should be able to advise on the appropriate course of action within the relevant legislation, even if they don’t opt to step in and deal with a particular issue themselves. If an issue escalates, it’s better to have it recorded with HR early so that formal performance management procedures can be implemented rather than suck it up and hope for the best, and HR will need to get involved in those even if the manager addresses it with the individual.

So the manager liaises with HR. What I have umbrage with in this thread are suggestions that an employee bypass management and go directly sideways and up to HR.

Edited by Mollycoddle, 12 July 2019 - 12:02 AM.


#25 SeaPrincess

Posted 12 July 2019 - 12:12 AM

Sometimes the managers aren’t the most independent people to deal with an issue.

I worked for a company whose HR department didn’t even know what my division did, even though we were consistently the most profitable arm of the business. I wouldn’t have gone to HR for anything.




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