It can be tricky sometimes to decide when to take an issue to human resources. After all, they walk the line between protecting you and protecting the company.
It’s important to make sure that you are approaching human resources with an appropriate issue or you may be putting your job in jeopardy.
When to Go to HR
There are times when it is important to go to the human resources manager. If you feel you are being harassed or bullied, you should talk to your human resources department.
It doesn’t matter whether the person doing the harassing is a client, customer, colleague, or boss. It’s important to report it.
The harassment doesn’t have to be sexual in nature, either. Any type of harassment should be reported right away.
If you feel like you need accommodations at the office, your human resources office is usually the first place to go. For example, if you’re a breast-feeding mother, your office needs to provide you with a private area to pump milk during the day. If you don’t have access to this, you should take your concerns to the human resources office.
You should also talk to your human resources manager when you have major changes in your personal circumstances. Obviously you don’t need to confide in your human resources manager about every change in your life, but if you are anticipating changes to your work hours, human resources should be your first stop.
For example, if you are expecting a baby and will need time off, communicate this to your human resources department in a timely manner so that the office has time to make arrangements. Also, if you are experiencing a major illness in the family that may require you take family medical leave, communicate it to your human resources manager.
When Not to Go to HR
Not all complaints should go to human resources, however.
If you don’t get along with a coworker or find a supervisor’s managerial style to be taxing, it isn’t necessarily a human resources issue.
Human resources officers aren’t there to referee or be the jury. Instead, they are there to make sure your rights aren’t violated and that you are getting your share of benefits. They’re not there just to hear you vent about how much you dislike your job.
How to Express Concerns to HR
Before you go to the human resources department, familiarize yourself with the employee handbook. Take a look at your company’s specific procedures for filing a grievance or addressing a problem. This can make sure you are following the company’s policies.
Be prepared with any documentation you have about the work problem. Being able to provide specific dates about incidents or copies of any records, such as timesheets, can be helpful.
Schedule a meeting ahead of time with your human resources representative. This can ensure you won’t be interrupted and that you’ll have plenty of time to discuss your concern. If you just walk into your human resource office to speak with someone, you might find that you don’t feel like you have time to properly address your concerns.
Also, make sure you’re able to schedule a meeting for a time when you’ll be calm. If you meet with your human resources department right after an incident, you might not be able to put together your story in a coherent way.
Meeting with human resources can help you to feel safe and confident about your position. It can also ensure you that your needs will be addressed in a timely and appropriate fashion.
Amy Morin is a licensed clinical social worker and college psychology instructor. She uses her expertise in psychology to write about a variety of topics including parenting, business, and finance. She also enjoys writing about business people, such as Tim Broas, along with informing business owners on how to remove article from Google.