Your Human Resources department is in a tough spot, no really, you may not think so, but they are. In addition to managing salary and benefits, doing all the hiring (and the occasional unfortunate termination), and administering performance reviews, they also have to play mediator. The HR department can be the mediator between employees, between a supervisor and a direct report, and even between the company and its staff. There’s a lot on their plate, and for this reason, your HR team would like you to keep a few things in mind.
They’re here to help
If you think of your HR department as nothing more than some well-intentioned folks who sit upstairs, process your paycheck, and make you watch office sensitivity videos once a year, then you’re not taking full advantage of one of the most versatile resources your company has to offer. Whether it’s managing your 401(k), getting additional training and development, or just getting a clearer understanding of your career path, Human Resources is happy to help.
They want to hear from you
This one is as simple as it gets: just talk. Part of the reason your HR department exists is help make sure your professional needs are met and that you have the resources you need to be as successful as possible. They can’t do any of that unless you communicate with them. If your team or department has a dedicated HR business partner, consider setting up monthly or quarterly check-ins; you’ll both be better for it.
You probably don’t look forward to your performance reviews. For many people — managers and staff alike — performance reviews seem like a tedious exercise and get treated like an afterthought at best. However, this kind of thinking will only work to your detriment. Performance reviews are your best opportunity to have a frank conversation with your boss and Human Resources about your struggles, your triumphs, and any additional training you might want or need. They’re also the best time to gather your KPI metrics; you’ll want to have those on hand when it comes time to update your resume.
They love it when you refer people
Personal referrals are your chance to play matchmaker. You know the company, its needs and its culture; you also know a friend or former colleague who might be a great fit. Why not bring them together? A personal referral acts as a professional reference in and of itself, and can help your internal recruiters avoid sifting through piles of resumes and doing endless phone screens. Many HR departments also offer bonuses if the person you referred gets hired.
Their powers are limited
While HR can be a powerful asset to a company’s employees, many things are simply outside their jurisdiction. If you find that you have a fundamental problem with the company itself — for example, if you object to the company’s new direction — there’s little they can do for you. This may seem obvious, but you might be surprised at the complaints, concerns, and general questions your HR department has fielded over the years. They’re definitely there to help, but they can’t boil the ocean just for you.