5 Things You Need to Know About HR
Published: Dec 03, 2015
December 3, 2015
By Aja Frost for BioSpace.com
Does HR exist to:
A) Serve the employees?
B) Serve the employer?
C) Both A and B.
It’s tempting to choose choice C—but the truth is, the Human Resources department exists solely for the benefit of the company. After all, the company is the one paying HR associate salaries. Here are five more things you need to know about HR.
1. They’re not bound by confidentiality.
Unlike doctors or religious leaders, HR associates have no requirement (legal or otherwise) to keep what you tell them under wraps. On the contrary, if you give them information that’s related to the success of the company, they’re actually obligated to share it with their bosses.
What’s an example of this? Well, maybe you ask someone in HR what will happen to your insurance policy if you leave your job. That professional is probably going to alert your manager that you’re searching for something new.
The takeaway is, don’t tell HR anything you wouldn’t want to be passed on.
2. They shouldn’t be your first stop for conflict resolution.
It’s a common myth that personality clashes with your coworkers should be settled with a trip to HR. However, you should definitely attempt to fix things on your own first. While many HR associates are trained in conflict resolution, you’ll lose credibility if you immediately hand the issue off to someone else.
If you try and fail to smooth things over with your colleagues, then you go to HR. When they ask, “What attempts have you made to solve the problem?,” you’ll have an answer.
3. They’re where you go to report harassment.
If you experience racial or sexual discrimination or harassment (or any other illegal behavior) while on the job, you should make a formal complaint to HR. Once you do so, the company has a legal requirement to investigate.
But even in these situations, it’s important to remember HR’s first loyalty is to the company. Make sure that you lodge your complaint in writing, specifically use the words “harassment,” or “discrimination,” take copious notes throughout the process, and, if necessary, hire counsel.
4. They’re not the final decision-makers for jobs.
Even though you’re probably dealing with HR throughout the application, onboarding and training processes, don’t confuse these responsibilities with the power to make the final hiring choice.
In most cases, the person who hires (or rejects) your application is your future boss. HR is responsible for organizing the application process, vetting candidates and occasionally giving interview guidance to the manager.
5. They’ve got salary power.
While HR associates may not be the ones calling the hiring shots, they certainly can influence how much you make.
Human Resources usually plays a big role in collecting performance evaluations. If your manager is raving about your high-quality work, HR is more likely to note that your “employee value” has increased—and will reward you with a raise. HR associates also keep track of how involved employees are. That means you should probably make an appearance at the next office event and say hi to some HR staff members while you’re at it!
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