Is Your Human Resources Dept a Partner?
Managing an employee’s work, performance and also their rights is part of the job. Managers don’t always understand their legal liability when managing employees. There are a slew of employment laws that can become a potential landmine for the manager. How do you insure that you honor the rights of an employee without having to be an employment lawyer? This is where your Human Resources (HR) Department is an important partner.
Not all managers necessarily see the HR Department as a partner. They either haven’t build a working relationship with HR or have the perception that HR wants to block them from doing what they want to do. I’ve heard a range of reasons for a faulty working relationship with HR. I have also worked closely with managers to help them build teams to meet their deliverables. A strong HR partner will partner with you to build employee’s productivity by increasing your management skills and knowledge.
What benefits do you receive by partnering with HR?
- Recruiting/Selection – source for talent and do the initial interview screening. They will scope out with you not only the responsibilities but the type of employee that you feel will work well with the rest of the team. They can provide guidance on behavioral based interviewing to insure you are asking the right questions in the interviewing process.
- Compensation/Benefits – reseach and provide compensation data to help you attract new talent and keep your current employees. Market research is an important part of a HR Manager’s role.
- Onboarding – insuring the new employee is on board for all of their benefits, provide training on the company and any other integration support so they are contributing quickly to your team. In addition, they can help you set up systems within your department to train the employee on their specific responsibilities.
- Employee Relations – help solve workplace issues with the primary focus being to build strong employee/employer relationships. If you create an effective working relationship with your HR Manager, this will be a key area for their support.
Employee Relations is the most taxing part in managing employees.
- Employment laws – it’s critical that you know the employment laws and HR can guide you on the specifics so you are respectful to all employees.
- Coaching/Counseling employees – coaching is an important skill for a manager, yet not all managers feel comfortable around performance discussions. Use your HR Manager to work out any issues you have before you sit down with an employee. They are your business partner and bring the knowledge you need to elevate an employee’s performance. You don’t need to be the expert, you have one you can tap into to help in managing your employees.
HR Manager balances two worlds…the company and the employee. Your HR Manager role is to work with you to build strong teams. They are there to guide you on creating respectful relationships with each of your employees.
If you are not getting the right support from your HR Manager, request it directly. If you feel that they are blocking you in managing your employees, have a conversation with them. Keep in mind that HR Managers are also people, who can react, so approach that conversation with thought and respect. Ask for what you want in a way that will insure a better response
If you feel your HR Manager is pro employee with little respect for your role as a manager, discuss this issue with them. If they have knowledge around your management skills, then be open to change. If an HR Manager is just pro employee, this can be a problem which he/she will need to address as your partner.
Sometimes the HR Manager is not able to handle the responsibilities of the role. Find out what options you have in your organization to get the partner you need to maximize your team’s effectiveness to the company’s bottom line.
Partner with your HR Department!
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