A letter to HR

Human recourses, let’s take a look with FIND YOUR VOICE...

For most of the 30 million workers in the country Human resources/HR is a bit of a mystery. The common misconception is that HR is there to help and support employees with workplace issues. You may be lead to believe that HR’s door is always open and they are willing to listen. You might think that the HR Manager should be a moral beacon for the company’s ethics. Well in the majority of cases none of this applies.

When reading HR journals and viewing HR websites, you soon see that this particular section of business has an identity crisis. The image of axe wielding executioners has stuck with them since the economic crash in 2008 where many companies would use the HR departments to cut cost of their operations, and of course the biggest cost to any business is its staff wages budget. The role of HR became one of defence and justification. Defence? Defending the company against employee complaints, Defending their own jobs, Defending bad Managers actions and decisions. Justification? Justifying why they have to defend bad Managers actions and decisions, Justifying their own jobs and Justifying why the company has dealt with an employee’s complaint in a certain way.

In a recent report It was claimed that 78% of HR Advisors would prefer to leave their jobs rather than confront senior Management over wrong doing. I suppose the rest would just stay silent. This is damming, where does it leave an employee with a genuine grievance about a manager’s behaviour?

If you have ever had the misfortune to have to deal with a HR department you will know what I mean. They will talk about the business like they are its voice “I am informing you on behalf of the business” or “the business takes your allegations seriously”. When put in a compromising position they will say “I can only do what the business allows”.

What all this defending, justifying and talking for the business really means is that “I am just an employee and I don’t want to confront or cross any manager as I could lose my job, I know what he said/done is wrong but if the directors found out that I helped an employee against a manager I will be black listed and find it hard to find another job in the future”.

Just like Traffic Wardens, as individual human beings, normal decent people, but once under pressure and scrutiny they will slap a £80 ticket on a young mum trying to strap her baby in the child seat. When confronted they will simply justify their actions as, “following the law”.

In the following articles we will look at how HR views itself, employees and the future. With many companies downsizing their HR departments, spreading more fear throughout the HR industry and many more companies out sourcing their whole HR operations to remote call centres. The Line Manager has become the main HR person on the ground. As an employee if you have an issue with the Line Manager, then you’ve got issues full stop.

If you have read this far then you are probably wondering “what can I do about my manager bulling me”?

Well the answer is quite straight forward. You have to start with a basic dairy, record everything, try to get witnesses, seek union support or talk to colleagues, follow the companies grievance procedures, get all conversations in writing and treat it like a rehearsal for a tribunal.

You should always try to gain advice from us People4people, Citizens Advice or ACAS.

People4people can help you to construct your case in a way that has maximum impact and covers all the bases.

The ACAS code of practice is a good first line of defence, as stated above with managers having to take the lead in disciplinary issues, there is always room for mistakes to be made.

Even if the manager is taking detailed instruction from a HR professional ultimately it’s the manager who has the last word. After reading these articles don’t stay silent, please...


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