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


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#26 123tree

Posted 12 July 2019 - 06:00 AM

Waiting for someone to start a new thread “ Has anyone ever been helped by HR “

😀

#27 Literary Lemur

Posted 12 July 2019 - 06:41 AM

Often issues arise between people working at the same level, and in close proximity to each other and they may even be friends.

In an ideal world you would attempt to resolve the issue directly with the person, then supervisor, manager and that level would ask for HR for support if need be.

Sometimes managers themselves are the issue or seem incapable of dealing with issues.

I think workplaces in general are pretty crap at dealing with problematic people.

#28 Expelliarmus

Posted 12 July 2019 - 06:43 AM

HR where I work don’t do this role anyway. They place/deploy and authorise where staff work, what roles are advertised and general employing people things.

Personal issues or potential disagreements in the workplace are dealt with by line managers. I would never think to ‘go to HR’ for things EB says ‘go to HR’ for. It’s not even their job :shrug:  I guess other workplaces are different.

Edited by Expelliarmus, 12 July 2019 - 07:46 AM.


#29 Dianalynch

Posted 12 July 2019 - 07:42 AM

‘Go to hr’ is a catch cry for anything an employee or line manager doesn’t want to do themselves, but generally should.

#30 lozoodle

Posted 12 July 2019 - 07:54 AM

I'd rather quit my job here than go to HR.

I know they are here to "help" but the reality is HR are here to protect the business.

I'm cynical, but in the industry I've work I've seen too much of what goes on after HR get involved!

#31 Prancer is coming

Posted 12 July 2019 - 07:56 AM

In my DH’s role, I encourage him to go to HR about anything to do with another work mate.  He has a manager’s role and the number of unfair dismissal cases seems high.  So some sort of innocent comment trying to address an issue can get turned around into a bullying complaint or stuff used against the company in unfair dismissal case.  So at least running it by HR they can advise on the wording/appropriateness/documentation of the situation.

In my own workplace, I don’t have a lot to do with HR but at the same time would be loathe to report any problems with staff at a management level.  Ages ago we had a difficult member in our team and when he created an issue I thought I dealt with it appropriately and did not let him barge through like he normal did.  But then he had a problem with the interaction, spoke to his manager about it and apparently there was talk about us both sitting down together with our immediate supervisors to work our issues.  I have no interest in getting involved in these types of dramas and certainly felt like a punishment for not being a doormat.  My supervisor also thought it was ridiculous and our meeting did not happen.  But gees, if I had any more need for assertive interactions with him, I would be going through HR or my manger.

Edited by Prancer is coming, 12 July 2019 - 07:58 AM.


#32 Dianalynch

Posted 12 July 2019 - 08:00 AM

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.

No, the role of managing the humans is the role of the manager.

Sure hr will help a manger have a conversation with their team member, if they need it, but honestly it’s a pretty ordinary manager that can’t have a simple conversation.

#33 Mishu

Posted 12 July 2019 - 08:01 AM

I’ve had people come to me with these type of issues. We discuss the problem and then work out ways they can address it, including what they say, how they say it etc. Then they go back and deal with the issue. Unless it is a significant problem, I’m in the background.

The only time I step in is if the manager is inexperienced and they falter. But it is a manager’s job to manage their team. My job is to help them do that in a capable manner (and given them the confidence to do it).  Legal issues (bullying, harassment etc) are a different story.

Some HR people are on a power trip. I’ve worked with those people and it sets my teeth on edge. They are why HR has such a bad name in some organisations.

#34 TheGreenSheep

Posted 12 July 2019 - 08:17 AM

View PostExpelliarmus, on 12 July 2019 - 06:43 AM, said:

HR where I work don’t do this role anyway. They place/deploy and authorise where staff work, what roles are advertised and general employing people things.

Personal issues or potential disagreements in the workplace are dealt with by line managers. I would never think to ‘go to HR’ for things EB says ‘go to HR’ for. It’s not even their job :shrug:  I guess other workplaces are different.
That’s what I came here to say.
IME I was warned off speaking to HR, as in, if you spoke to them and discussed or complained aboutany issues, then you would never get a job there ever again.
My current job, we don’t have HR, we just deal with things amongst ourselves. Works for us.

#35 born.a.girl

Posted 12 July 2019 - 08:20 AM

View PostMollycoddle, on 12 July 2019 - 12:02 AM, said:

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.


I find it funny that so often on EB the first response is 'take it to HR', like the whole of the population works for companies large enough to have them.  Only one of the places I worked for in the past would be big enough to have one (not a 'thing' in the 70s).

Sure, many say 'if your workplace is big enough ...', but many don't.

#36 Coffeegirl

Posted 12 July 2019 - 08:29 AM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 12 July 2019 - 08:20 AM, said:




I find it funny that so often on EB the first response is 'take it to HR', like the whole of the population works for companies large enough to have them.  Only one of the places I worked for in the past would be big enough to have one (not a 'thing' in the 70s).

Sure, many say 'if your workplace is big enough ...', but many don't.

That’s a very good point.

The company I work for now is the first, in over 30 years of working, that has had a proper ‘HR’ person.  Prior to that Ive worked in small offices where there was really no one to go to.   Often my direct manager was also the owner.   So if I had a problem, it was unlikely to be dealt with in a way I would feel would be impartial.

In one of my workplaces, the staff basically had to do a mini strike to get the owner to step up and deal with another employee who was bullying and harassing the entire team.    Although we had all mentioned individually that we had issues, he refused to deal with it until we confronted him as a group.

Edited by Coffeegirl, 12 July 2019 - 08:30 AM.


#37 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 12 July 2019 - 08:40 AM

I worked at one place where we have had 1 person as HR. Considering it was a family run company where the owner's son had been accused of sexual harrassment 3 times, and a daughter dated and later married a married coworker, this guy had no power. He really just was the form fill in person, ran some training and advertised jobs.
DH, while doing IT in one company knew the HR manager at one place was running a side business out of her office. She had her own printer in her office for privacy. DH would be called to fix it or her computer and could see what she was doing.
Both of us don't think much of HR. The company uses them to pay lip service while protecting themselves. I also sure don't trust any type of EAP services offered either by companies. They say they are confidential but I am sure they have to report if a person accesses them, even if they don't disclose the reason why, to justify why the company should keep them on.

#38 SeaPrincess

Posted 12 July 2019 - 08:43 AM

View PostKiwi Bicycle, on 12 July 2019 - 08:40 AM, said:

I also sure don't trust any type of EAP services offered either by companies. They say they are confidential but I am sure they have to report if a person accesses them, even if they don't disclose the reason why, to justify why the company should keep them on.

Ours reported numbers only, i.e. x people accessed EAP services this month. But we had a large employee base with offices in multiple cities. It would be different in a smaller company.

#39 Tinkle Splashes

Posted 12 July 2019 - 08:55 AM

View PostMollycoddle, on 12 July 2019 - 12:02 AM, said:



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.

It depends on the nature of the organisation. My manager is a partner in a law firm. It’s hard enough getting time with him to discuss work issues, there is no way I would ever use my time with him complaining about the strong odour coming from the office next to mine. I can guarantee he wouldn’t do anything about it. In my workplace we go to HR about those issues.

#40 kiwi-girl

Posted 12 July 2019 - 10:02 AM

Human Resources are there to manage the 'human resources' within a company - this may be low level/minor things, through to major issues, hiring/firing etc. Sometimes, it is best to go to your line manager, other times you need/want support that a dedicated HR person can provide.
I work for a large organisation who has an amazing and responsive HR department - we can raise issues with them and get support promptly. I realise not all companies/businesses can offer this for a variety of reasons.

Edited by kiwi-girl, 12 July 2019 - 10:03 AM.


#41 WannabeMasterchef

Posted 12 July 2019 - 10:43 AM

Id say its because generally workers who bear the brunt of workplace issues like bullying and harassment are lower in the ranks than the person doing the behaviour. Often the bully IS the manager.

Edited by WannabeMasterchef, 12 July 2019 - 11:03 AM.


#42 WannabeMasterchef

Posted 12 July 2019 - 10:59 AM

View PostKiwi Bicycle, on 12 July 2019 - 08:40 AM, said:

Both of us don't think much of HR. The company uses them to pay lip service while protecting themselves.

Unfortunately this has been my experience in certain places.

#43 Mose

Posted 12 July 2019 - 11:12 AM

View Post123tree, on 12 July 2019 - 06:00 AM, said:

Waiting for someone to start a new thread “ Has anyone ever been helped by HR “



Could be one of those "everyone on EB has the same view" threads....

#44 JomoMum

Posted 12 July 2019 - 02:11 PM

Lower and middle level management are trained in dealing with these sorts of issues as well, as a first point of contact.

It would have to be something serious for me to go straight to HR, which in the case of my old workplace, were as an entire department, located in a different city and wouldn’t have even known I worked for the company either way.

#45 Dr Dolly

Posted 12 July 2019 - 08:30 PM

View Postlozoodle, on 12 July 2019 - 07:54 AM, said:

I'd rather quit my job here than go to HR.

I know they are here to "help" but the reality is HR are here to protect the business.

I'm cynical, but in the industry I've work I've seen too much of what goes on after HR get involved!


Yes. This is true. HR is A support function that supports the business.

The ‘business’ is the first priority.

In my experience there is a perception that HR is there to ‘protect’ the employee. Whilst this is true, as part as ensuring employment laws are not broken, to also  reduce claims of harassment and bullying etc.

Professional development is an investment that a company makes  to increase productivity and reduce turn over.

Company values are part of a engagement strategy, as engaged employees are more productive when they are engaged with the organisation and feel that they are part of a team that makes a difference.

The organisation will always be put first. It is important to know this when you do ‘go’ to HR.

When in doubt - document issues. Don’t rely on HR to do this for you.

And should formal meetings be required, take a support person or a union rep.

It’s in an organisations best interest for employees to think HR is a warm and fuzzy department- but remember they are also the same team who review talent, forecast new roles, and assist in internal recruitment.





#46 WaitForMe

Posted 12 July 2019 - 08:57 PM

For day to day problems, no I don't see it as HR's role.

it depends on the problem and your or the problem person's seniority, but generally you should try and sort it out yourself, plan b is your manager, who may decide to coach you through it rather than intervene at first. The manager may then choose to escalate, at which point it may end up with HR.

If your problem is with your line manager or above then personally I'd speak to one of their peers or their line manager.

I just did a bunch of mandatory training for a new job, and although they were positive about going to HR (or equiv), the message was basically go to your line manager first. Even with really serious stuff, such as bullying, discrimination, etc. I don't think its because they were suggesting HR isn't the right place, just that you might be more comfortable.

On the topic of HR being useless, in large organisations I think their problem is they are too far removed. The best HR experience I've had in a large org was when the GM of the unit insisted on having his own dedicated HR rep embedded in the team. Highly politically controversial move though!

I'm a big advocate of cross functional teams though, and thats just one example where I've seen its positive impact.

#47 JAPNII

Posted 12 July 2019 - 09:15 PM

I think there is an overuse and total misunderstanding of HR and their role.

For minor skirmishes really the line managers need to sort through it.

It's only where it escalates or is a serious issue of bullying or harassment that HR need to get involved.

But they are bound by what they can do under the law and IMO this is where some of the issues begin. HR is definitely there to protect the business from as much risk as possible.

Honestly though I think some people need to toughen up with some things.

#48 Mollycoddle

Posted 12 July 2019 - 09:32 PM

View Postlozoodle, on 12 July 2019 - 07:54 AM, said:


I know they are here to "help" but the reality is HR are here to protect the business.


This comment reminds me of a major charity I worked for a few years ago who were backward in quite a few areas as far as the legalities went. In this org all Workplace Health & Safety was dealt with by the HR department, which, having myself been a HSR for a number of years at a previous workplace, I felt was a direct contravention of legislation which to my knowledge involves a trained employee HSR nominated for each workgroup by other employees in that workgroup.

Conflict of interest, much!

Edited by Mollycoddle, 12 July 2019 - 09:58 PM.


#49 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 12 July 2019 - 10:48 PM

yep HR *are* management - keep that in mind if you ever have a work place grievance and - also keep in mind - where relevant - your union rep - they truly are on your side.


#50 PsySquirrel

Posted 13 July 2019 - 04:07 AM

Generally, HR is bound by 1) law 2) Company policy 3) company employee strategy and values. If a company strategy involves having a highly engaged 'culture' where supported employees do their best work etc. (lots of tech companies have to be employee focused because competition for talent is strong). You'll get different support from HR in these companies because HR manages the a business function of employees.

But, in general:

Go to HR immediately if: someone touches/threatens/is sexually inappropriate in language or behaviour/is behaving in another dangerous way/doing something illegal (e.g. Discrimination/embezzelment)

Also go to HR if: the issue is severely effecting your work to the point you dont want to come in anymore/making you cry at your desk/preventing you from working at all.

Go to your manager if: you are having trouble meshing with your team/you are having trouble getting along with a coworker/an emplyees work ethic is causing delays in your own work getting done.

Handle it yourself: your coworker is annoying in words or actions  e.g. Talking to loud, constantly clearing throat, Your behaviour is distracting, please stop or your comment made me uncomfortable etc try three times and if the behaviour doesnt get better then go to manager or HR depending on the issue and the coworkers response.

Edited to add: its not necessarily HR's job to fix an issue or take sides in a dispute, but instead mediate and/or help employees figure out the situation

Edited by PsySquirrel, 13 July 2019 - 04:11 AM.





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