Managers face a myriad of daily responsibilities that can, at times, appear daunting. In addition to carrying out business objectives, managers are simultaneously organizational advocates and employee advocates. This is where HR can help. HR supports the organization in staffing, development, policy management, performance management, training and development and employee relations. Effective managers recognize and understand the importance of reaching out to HR, when necessary. By working with HR, managers can make better decisions and, in the case of employee relations issues, lessen the risk to them and to the organization. Here are just a few areas where it is advisable to seek assistance from HR.
Harassment – HR is trained to handle allegations of this type to ensure they are handled fairly, consistently and legally. While managers are agents of the organization and, therefore, have a “duty to act,” seeking HR assistance can ensure that harassment allegations and complaints are handled in a timely and thorough manner and support the manager in carrying out his or her normal duties.
Workplace Violence Warning Signs – Any issue that can put the health and safety of employees at risk must be brought to the attention of HR. Some examples include physical assaults, threats, intimidation or bullying, and physical or verbal abuse. The manager who recognizes workplace violence warning signs must contact HR (and, possibly, Security, your EAP or 911). HR or these other resources can best advise and work with the manager on how to handle employees who display workplace violence warning signs.
Employee Development and Performance Management – HR often plays the role of career counselor and many times has good ideas on how to help develop employees. HR can assist the manager in creating development plans. By the same token, HR is a knowledgeable resource when writing performance reviews to ensure that the reviews are fair, balanced and unbiased.
These areas are, by no means, exhaustive. Effective managers seek HR assistance and guidance in the face of many challenging issues involving employee behaviors, interactions and policy compliance. When in doubt, it is always advisable to call HR. The common goal is to ensure there is a positive, productive work environment for all.