In my own career, I have hundreds of examples where someone walked into my office, asked me to get involved and then complained about how I solved the problem. Ugh.
I know you feel like you deserve concierge service at work; however, your local HR lady isn’t a psychologist, accountant or a mom. She’s just an office worker trying to help your company make some cash.
And you should know that Human Resources is the destination of last resort. If HR gets involved, it is almost too late for a positive outcome.
So here are some fool-proof ways to feel empowered, find solutions and avoid HR.
- Use Google. When you ask your HR lady a question, the first thing she does is google it. Also check out your company’s intranet. (That’s where she is headed, too.)
- Go up the chain of command to someone with power. For ethical issues, contact your company’s ombudsman or chief compliance officer. An ombudsman is often responsible for investigating and addressing complaints. A compliance officer is responsible for your organization’s conformity with the law. Between the two of them, one of those individuals has the power to solve your problem. Or they might refer you back to HR.
- Don’t rely on Human Resources to run your business. From recruiting to headcount to performance management, you should own this. Be ready with a name when someone resigns from your group. Recognize performance. Nip problems in the bud. And build a better, leaner and more flexible budget so that the annual merit increase process doesn’t come as a shock to the system.
- If you see something, say something. Why does HR have to talk to your racist, smelly or offensive colleague? Is your spine broken?
- Walk into HR with an outcome in mind. Nobody likes a whiner. If you’re having a problem at work, come to Human Resources with an ending to the story. If your boss is a pervert, ask for him to be fired. If you feel like your compensation is unfair, demand specific action. Is your paycheck messed up for the 100th time? Don’t leave that office without talking to someone who is accountable.
One more tip: employee assistance programs (EAPs) are designed to help you manage your personal problems such as divorce, addiction and family drama. Guess what? They are staffed with real psychologists and therapists who can help with problems at work, too.
Give them a call for concierge-like assistance. And Xanax. That’s where your own HR lady goes to avoid HR.