Sadly, too many employees look at HR like Michael Scott from “The Office” looked at Toby – the “fun killer.” HR is often viewed like they are MPs policing the corridors. And if your HR group is really like that, you need to question your overall corporate culture.
A good HR group is comprised of smart, trained people who genuinely want to help but are far too often underutilized. If you are aspiring for a management position, or are a current middle/upper manager, it’s vital that you have a relationship with HR. Here are three reasons why:
1. Moving the chess pieces
You know moving a certain employee in your group from X to Y is strategically the right move. In 90 percent of the medium to large companies out there, you can’t move anyone without HR’s buy-in and help. Make them part of your strategic thinking and this move happens quickly. Come to them at the 11th hour with the move you intend to make and you’d better be prepared to be frustrated for a while. You need HR to help you strategically move your chess pieces.
2. Inclusion is the key
During my run with a “mega corp,” I would invite our HR rep to our staff meetings. As a big believer in employee development, having our HR rep was invaluable because she made us aware of seminars, webinars, and other initiatives to help us improve individually and as a team. She also “humanized” herself to my staff members who previously had the common negative view of HR. Soon, she was looked at as just another team member helping us all to do our jobs better. I watched morale rise and I believe this move was a big reason why.
3. You need a confidant
When managing a team, it’s easy to get lost in the needs of the individuals and lose sight of your own needs. A good HR rep can be a great confidant. If you’ve already included them in your team, then they already have a sense of your needs and challenges. Remember, good managers surround themselves with people who can tell them “their baby is ugly” – people whom they trust have and have empowered to be completely honest. This is how they become great managers.
HR is a resource. Include them. Make them allies to your team. Lean on them for advice. They are there (and are trained) to help you. Use every resource you can, including HR, to be the best manager you can. You owe it to yourself and to your team.