Frustrating HR rules demystified: Part 2
Thursday, March 08, 2018
Working with HR can be frustrating. HR professionals often seemed closed off or compelled to look at things as right or wrong, with no gray areas. Further, HR pros are not always at liberty — because of confidentiality, regulations, demands by leadership or simply lack of resources — to explain the why behind their actions.
In Part 1 of this article, we explained the logic behind hire slow/fire fast. Here are a few more simplified explanations of frustrating HR rules.
As noted in Part 1 of this article, the lack of supporting paperwork is often the reason HR balks at terminations. Taking accurate and timely notes can be annoying and frustrating and a lot of additional work that seems to be for nothing. However, proper documentation not only helps ensure the hiring and firing processes go smoother, but it also helps HR see and address any organizationwide issues.
From department productivity trends to onerous or ineffective processes, having the ability to look at accurate and consistent documentation across departments helps HR protect the organization from risks that could be looming on the horizon.
On the positive side, accurate documentation also allows HR to use data to improve process and practices. For example, by comparing hiring and retention across departments, HR can extrapolate best practices from one team to help managers improve on another.
Negligent hiring is a real risk to employers. Giving an outgoing employee a positive referral out of guilt or good intentions can create a significant risk to the organization. HR's goal is not to stop all references — after all, we would want one if we were leaving — just to ensure they are consistent and lawful to protect the organization.
Centralizing the referral process is one way to do that. By allowing HR to provide all the referrals, the team can manage what is said and note it appropriately in the ex-employee's file. It also affords managers the ability to work with HR to ensure the employee gets an accurate reference that also protects the company.
Don't socialize with subordinates
Flatter organizations are reducing the opportunities for fraternization among different levels of staff. However, the issue has not been eliminated. Social interactions — any non-work-related activities — that take place outside the office between a leader and subordinate are fraught with challenges.
HR normally discourages these activities for two reasons. First, personal relationships can cloud the leader's judgment and undermine her authority. Second, any staff aware of the relationship will automatically assume partiality. Both issues weaken the integrity of the organization's structure and make it extremely difficult for normal processes, from disciplinary action to promotions, to be fair and effective.
The bottom line is HR is the central processing point for employee-related actions. They can spot trends to avoid risks; reward successes and extrapolate best practices; and in general, play a pivotal role in accurately conveying the how to motivate and align staff toward company objectives.
Understanding the rationale behind some HR rules can go far is supporting the team's efforts, which ultimately helps the organization.
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