One of the key goals of most Human Resources departments is to create a sense of cooperation and collaboration that is felt throughout the company. Whether an issue is big or small, working to resolve employee concerns and providing clear leadership can help build a strong relationship between HR and other team members.
Fixes the little things
Often it is the handling of small needs or concerns that sets the foundation for the relationship between HR and company employees. After all, if staff don’t feel assured that HR can help them with a lost W2 form, they will not feel confident that they will receive assistance if and when bigger problems arise. No matter the size of the HR department, everyone from the director down to the generalist should be knowledgeable about how to address all routine situations. Taking the time to efficiently tackle simple needs like a change of address, uniform replacement or pay stub reprint can establish a clear sense that the HR department is quick and responsive.
Sets the overall tone
Being accessible and adept signals to the entire team that HR prioritizes a positive and productive work environment. It sets a tone of collaboration, which backs up the overall role HR plays in creating a workplace that balances the needs of both the company and its employees. Workers can become disgruntled and unproductive when toiling in a negative atmosphere in which they feel disregarded. By showing staff they are valued and supported through both its actions and its policies, HR can model the type of behavior it wishes to see company wide.
Develops employees who have potential
A big problem for many employees is often the feeling of being held down or underutilized. High-performing workers should never feel overlooked in an organization, and HR can assist with their growth and development. Through the review of performance documents, it may be HR who first recognizes a promising employee. The department can then follow up with the appropriate supervisors and organize a plan for advancement, perhaps even directly training the stand-out employee or providing them with professional guidance. A robust and well-monitored advancement program can help staff feel motivated and appreciated.
Handles medical concerns
In addition to helping employees thrive in a positive environment, HR can be there to assist staff during trying times. If a worker is facing a medical issue that may be impacting work, HR is equipped to guide that employee through his or her situation. Whether the circumstances affect the employee or a member of the employee’s family, HR can provide information regarding applicable benefits or legal protections. It is possible that the problem may fall under the Family Medical Leave Act or the Americans With Disabilities Act, or perhaps it might qualify the employee to receive sick pay or other paid time off. HR will work within legal bounds to handle the situation in a manner that addresses the needs of both the company and the employee.
Addresses bigger issues
While most businesses encourage staff to bring concerns to any member of management they are comfortable approaching, the proverbial door of HR should always be open. If an employee has a complaint of sexual harassment or other abusive behavior, most HR departments are at the ready to step in. In a place of business that values safe, ethical and appropriate behavior, no employee should be afraid to come forward with anything they find concerning. The role of HR is to take all reports seriously and to investigate any issue that comes to their attention. HR has an obligation to protect not just the company but its employees as well.
While Human Resources may sometimes seem like the paperwork department, it is important to remember that this team plays a much bigger role in most companies. HR can help employees with issues both large and small, and is very often instrumental in helping staff grow and advance.
Lindsey Patterson is a freelance writer and entrepreneur based in the US who specialises in business technology, customer relationship management and lead management. She also writes about the latest social trends, specifically involving social media.