HR Survival How to be Liked in the Office

To an organization, the HR or Human Resource department is the representation of a watchdog, judge, and punisher. That is not a very pretty picture, but that is how most employees, team members, and remote workers perceive an HR officer.

From the moment they seek employment to their last day of work, employees and even freelancers will be dealing with the HR department. An HR officer will conduct their job interview, welcome them to the company, and facilitate their orientation and job onboarding. They will also have to deal with the HR upon leaving the company – through resignation or otherwise. An HR officer will conduct an exit interview and process certifications and other employment documents.

In between the first few weeks and the final weeks of employment, employees would want nothing to do with HR. As good news and positive feedback are often broadcasted to the entire team, private summons from the department could only mean trouble or bad news. Complaints, incident reports, and disciplinary actions are often associated with an HR meeting.

The Human Resource department provides a vital contribution to the company’s success. They are tasked to recruit the right people and manage employees. But, and effective HR does more than just finding great talents and keeping them in line with the company’s policies, procedures, and culture. A great HR team takes the extra step of creating a friendly and constructive relationship with the employees.

Here are few tips for HR on how to be better perceived and liked in the office;

Be honest – Be transparent with all your communications with the employees. Do not sugar-coat or deny bad news. The best way is to lay everything on the table. Tell them the truth as it is, right away. Your employees will see through a lie, and they will never trust you again for it. And they will certainly appreciate you for your honesty.

Be consistent –The biggest distrust comes from the notion that HR is pro-admin or for the company. Make it clear that the HR is a friend to all and you are unbiased. All employees should be treated and dealt with fairly and equally. If you greet the CEO a good morning, you should also do the same to the receptionist or the bookkeeper. Follow the company handbook when dispensing sanctions, this way your decisions are always backed and substantiated.

Implement two-way communication – HR consultations and meetings become less unpleasant if there is a two-way conversation. Do not do all the talking. Let the employees talk and express their opinions and/or side of the story. Offer solutions and options, and together come up with a resolution. When you allow employee participation in the decision-making, they are more likely to follow and be compliant.

Be positive – Join the party and do not be the wet blanket. It means bringing your pets during Bring-A-Pet-to-Work Day, taking up the microphone during karaoke nights, and greeting people with a smile. For issues and problems, always look for a resolution. Do not dwell on the bad or of the losses. Instead, look for a win-win resolution that will benefit both the company and the employee. Offer as much help as possible.

Do not be patronizing – HR officers are tasked to manage and take care of your team. That includes professional growth, welfare, and safe working conditions of the employee while they are with the company. It is your job to make things fun, comfortable, and efficient for them. It is not policing and dispensing sanctions. You are not in a higher position, you just have a different job description.

Hold off your personal opinions – Stay professional. Doling off personal opinions will only lead to disconcertion, embarrassment, and distress. Comments and mentions about one’s appearance, opinions, beliefs, or preferences are uncalled for and unprofessional. Focus on work-related issues. If it is not affecting employee productivity and positive office dynamics, it is not your business.

Be attentive – Listen to the unspoken words, read between the lines. It is not surprising for employees to hold back from telling all, especially if it concerns their superiors or co-workers. An HR officer who ‘gets it’ without them having to spell it out for you, will get the trust in not the friendship of the employee. This is especially important when dealing with freelancers and remote workers.

Create genuine relationships – Forging a real relationship with the employees, freelancers and everyone in the organization leads to strong connection, enhanced understanding, and open communication within the company. These ultimately promote positivity and camaraderie within the team, HR included.

Here are more tips to foster teamwork in a team of virtual workers.

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