HR can be a thankless job. Unless you are in recruitment. The majority of my HR career was spent in recruitment: from baggage handlers & CSRs for the airlines to hospital CEOs and now skilled & unskilled trade workers, I’ve recruited pretty much all levels of employees. I loved making that offer call and most places I worked, we did the letter or email to let people know they weren’t selected, so didn’t have to make that call too often. My current position is a little different as I’m now in a generalist role. I love the variety and what I’ve been able to learn about the rest of HR, but I miss the thanks and excitement from recruitment. [My 7 year old will tell you that I used to hire people, but now I just fire people.]
I like to think I’ve gotten pretty good at the employee relations side, trying to relate to my employees, trying to figure out how to build that bridge with them. They’ve gotten the pretty short end of the stick when it comes to a reliable, trustworthy person in the role I’m in. I’ve been there for almost 4 years and still struggle to get people to trust me. They don’t want to bring issues to me as they see it as being a snitch, but they will also get upset if someone isn’t held accountable (which is hard to do if you don’t know what’s going on). Even the supervisors struggle. And, honestly, I don’t blame them. They’ve seen difficult employees get 2nd, 3rd, 10th chances and others lose their job for what seem to be minor offenses. They’ve been told (in the past) to not take situations to HR and have been disciplined for doing so.
Recently, we had a minor incident that an employee didn’t react properly to. He ignored his supervisor’s request to let the supervisor handle it. And I got to do an investigation. The director & I decided that we needed to keep it a minor incident and brought all parties together to discuss our expectations, which was basically, don’t care if you don’t like each other, you need to work together professionally and respectfully. Both employees threatened to take the issue to central HR [one actually did]. Of course, I had also shared the situation with them so their “threat” is not the threat it once was.
About a week later, one of the employees came to my office and closed the door (never a good thing, right?). He sat down and told me a little bit about what the former “HR” person had been like and why people didn’t like me [well, not *me* specifically, but my office/title based on their past experience]. He then told me that I have his respect. I was blown away. Any time a Midwestern or southern “good ole boy” tells you they have your respect, it’s huge. These men do not talk about this kind of thing, so for this man to take the time to come to my office to tell me this? He took a step up in my mind as well.
I’m making progress with them. Just gotta keep doing what I’m doing. Treat your employees right, equitably, fairly. It will pay off. Eventually …