A Trusted and Reliable Resource for the Owner
One of the main jobs of your human resources department or advisor is to be a safe harbor where you, your managers and your employees can go when they have issues with their job, their co-workers or their boss. They should be encouraged to go to HR with concerns and they should be comfortable doing so, secure in the knowledge that they will be listened to and their confidence will not be breached. Examples of times when an employee should go to HR include:
- Confusion about pay or benefits. Sometimes someone just made a mistake that can be corrected easily and quickly. Other times there is a problem that will take time and effort to reconcile. In all cases, delay will only make the problem worse.
- The employee is being harassed or they have seen someone else being harassed. Employees should know that harassment will not be tolerated. They should also know that HR is the best place to deal with it. Dealing with it usually does not mean firing someone. In most cases a meeting with the harasser will solve it. Sometimes, remedial training is necessary. And, in some cases, the culture of the company needs to be addressed.
- Personal problems are impacting job performance. Everyone has personal or health issues that distract them. Often their instinct is to withdraw and keep the problems to themselves. But, the human resources department can be a great resource for the employee with personal or health problems. They can get the employee some help. They can explain leave and FMLA policies.
But HR is not there just for employees, it also serves managers. If a manager has an employee who is causing problems or is having a problem, they should first turn to HR who can be a partner is addressing and resolving employee issues.
The human resources department or advisor is a primary resource for employees and managers. It provides information and support and it has the training, tools and access to accomplish things that no one else in the company has.
From the perspective of the owner, the human resources department or advisor is a link to its people that is independent - a perspective that does not rely on managers and supervisors. One of the many fruits of ongoing communication between HR and the employees is an always current stream of information about morale, culture, happiness and discontent that would probably not be otherwise revealed until there is a problem. HR also provides an interface between the company and the employees that allows ownership to be a step removed from personal, sometimes embarrassing, employee issues that are best attended to by someone else in the company.
Regardless of the size of the company, ownership, management and employees need an oasis where problems and issues can be addressed. Human resources is the ideal oasis. Given the responsibility and the authority of a broad mandate, your human resources department or advisor can fulfill this mandate in ways that no other department, manager or employee can. Encourage all employees to use the resources the company has provided. Encourage them to turn to human resources for support, for guidance and for answers.