5 Reasons To Check In With Human Resources


The Human Resources department isn’t just for resolving serious work-related conflicts – or for new employees. It’s a commonly overlooked resource for both happy and unhappy employees. It’s a shame that employees only visit HR when faced with a tense situation. After all, they are quite literally “at your service,” whether you’re in the middle of a catastrophe or enjoying a long string of productive workdays. Perhaps it’s time to visit that sleepy corner of the office to see what Human Resources can do for you.

Professional Issue Resolution

Venting to co-workers about work-related gripes can backfire quite easily. You can be misunderstood, overheard, or shunned. If you vent to your HR rep, they’re obliged to handle your problem professionally. If they’re any good, they’ll come back to you later with a proposed course of action to address whatever is bothering you. So, instead of sending your complaints into an echo chamber, send them to the people who can handle them.

Employee Wellness Programs

Have you asked your company about employee wellness programs? They come in a wide variety, but they’re meant to keep you healthy, happy and productive. The company hopes to reduce job-related injuries and absenteeism, but what do you get as an employee? Well, some employers pay for part or all of a health club membership, some offer professional stress management, some even offer cash prizes if you lose weight or quit smoking. HR wants you to be healthy, and they’re probably offering some perks to prove it.

Education Reimbursement

Employers get obvious benefits from retaining highly-trained and highly-educated employees. As a result, some will assist you in paying for programs that will advance your knowledge or skill set. Google employees receive up to $8,000 annually in tuition reimbursement. These benefits can be amazing, but they require some initiative on your part. It’s certainly not a perk to enjoy passively; you have to take the initiative to talk to them about qualifying programs.

Company Discounts

During the usual course of business, employers will naturally build relationships with other firms. Frequently, they will offer each other discounts on goods and services as a benefit to employees of both companies. Who has your company aligned with? Have they offered each other a mutual exchange of discounts? If you don’t know the answers, you might be missing out on some serious savings.

Policies

Human Resource is the forge for all employee policies. Parts of these policies impose limitations and constraints on you, but there are advantages to find as well. Does your company pay for seat upgrades on certain airlines? If you’re rarely sick, can you trade sick leave for vacation leave at a certain exchange rate?  Human Resources wants you to know the policies, but you can’t expect them to be psychics. But, if you pay them a quick visit, they might help you find some gold in that long, tedious, fine-print policy.

How do you find your HR department in terms of approachability?  Do you use them for situations like the ones mentioned above?  Can using their resources make you more productive?  Let us know in the comments.


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Peter is Vice President of Digital Marketing at an investment holdings company in Washington DC and Co-Founder at True North.

Discussion

  1. James on the 9th June

    The 2nd greatest lie ever told:

    “I’m from HR, I’m here to help”

  2. Troy Peterson on the 9th June

    While HR is great for finding company policy, procedures, and other things a “computer” can do now… the biggest mis-conception I’ve seen is people believe Human Resources are the employee’s advocate.

    This is the furthest from the true… because, in the end, they still work for the company.

    Many times I’ve seen people file a complain about a fellow employee or a supervisor, thinking their conversations are confidential… only to find the information being used against them later on. Especially when it comes to complaints about superiors or people higher on the ladder then them.

    So while they may be great for some things, they’re not the “go to” person the company would like you to believe.

  3. Krista on the 10th June

    What if the company you work for is small and has no HR department?

    Ideally, it would be nice to have someone specific to take care of people matters, however, not all companies are structured the same.

    I do agree that people matter — although the internet is full of great advise and information — nothing beats talking to a real live person. No matter how flawed that human is.

    • James on the 10th June

      “What if the company you work for is small and has no HR department?”

      Be thankful every day!

      HR sounds like a nice idea in theory, but the reality tends to be quite different.

  4. Ana da Silva on the 10th June

    This is such a good article!

    In my last job we had just the worst HR guy ever. I remember going to him for all the reasons you mention above and he was not very helpful (on top of sharing private information with anyone else in the company who would listen).

    Still, I made him find out information for me and it turned out, for example, that we had an employee wellness program that was to help us with everything from finding an attorney to helping us plan a move to providing a few trial sessions with a therapist in case of high stress. All for FREE! The HR (bleep) didn’t even know this and even after he found out he wouldn’t tell my co-workers.

    So definitely ask.

  5. David on the 27th April

    I think depends on the professionalism of your HR department and how long they’ve been doing their job. My HR department is great. They’ve always gone out of their way way to help me with any questions or situations.

    One of the best quotes I have heard though is this: “Human Resources: Neither human, nor a resource.”

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