Can Your Employee Relations Actions Handle the Truth?

Employee relations actions are a fact of life in human resources.

When preparing an action is it important that fact-finding investigations are properly conducted, evidence is fully developed, charges are properly written and employee due-process rights are protected. 

Hidden agendas and emotion do not translate to reasonable cause and with awareness, you can use your employee relations expertise to change behavior - and not merely make a point.

What are you made of?

It used to be a point of pride for me as a young HR professional to say that my employee relations actions had never been appealed outside of the organization. Did I chalk it up to my obviously awesome skills or beyond reproach reputation? Who knows what actually went through my young mind then but I can tell you now that whatever it was, it was misplaced.

Unchallenged means untested and you don't know what you are made of until you are tested. How you respond when tested says more about you as a professional than the outcome of any one case. Think about this before you jump to conclusion, put emotion before fact or pounce on a witness.

What are your actions made of?

Readying an action for appeal (because appeals are another fact of life in human resources) involves reviewing the evidence "through the eyes of another" and preparing your witnesses to testify. After testimony is given, it never fails that a witness will wonder aloud, "Did I ruin your case?"

In response I ask, "Did you tell the truth?" Telling the truth is the only thing you need to worry about. If my action does not hold up under the truth, then I didn't have an action in the first place. If you did not tell the truth, my action is the least of your worries.

Can you handle the truth?

What do you think employee relations pros? Can you handle the truth?

HR: 5 Signs Your Customer Service Is In Jeopardy

Engaged employees offer more postive interaction than disengaged employees. Positive interactions with employees will prompt customers, vendors and job applicants to return to your organization.

In his recent article, What is Employee Engagement, Kevin Kruse defines engagement as, "the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals." He continues, "Engaged employees actually care about their work and their company."

Why should you care? People like to work for and buy things from employees (and brands) that satisfy them. They will fire those that don't.

One Chance to Make a Positive First Impression

I wanted a new wallet. My checkbook wallet, when paired with my iPad, smartphone and keys, messed with the relatively slim profile of my new purse. I went to Fossil on Friday and bought a smaller wallet. I started using it immediately and, by Saturday, I hated it.

I returned to Fossil, explained my dilemma and right there, next to the sign stating they will exchange only UNUSED items, I emptied the wallet I had been using and exchanged for another. The manager clearly had every right to deny my request-  but she did not.

This was my first time shopping there and I'll be back. 

My Give-a-Care is Busted

Not all business are as fortunate, or all employees as engaged, as the manager at Fossil was that one Saturday afternoon. Here are five strange but true signs your HR customer service is in jeopardy (courtesy of my HR friends and colleagues):

  1. Lights are on, computers are fired up and an employee comes up to HR at 7:25. HR employee says, "I'll help you, but, for the record, we don't open until 7:30."
  2. When asked a question that did not relate to her role, HR employee responds, "I don't have anything to do with that. Call someone else."
  3. When asked by an applicant why she did not get referred for a position, HR employee responds, "You are clearly not qualified for the position and with your lack of formal education, you'd have a better chance applying for unskilled positions." 
  4. When his inappropriate response to a customer was raised for discussion by his supervisor, the employee explained it this way, "I am a mirror, I reflect back what I see."
  5. An employee brings an error in her promotion pay calculation to HR. Without much ado - or any research - HR staff erases the old number, changes it to what the employee though it should be. Which was still wrong, BTW.

Nip it in the Bud

These incidents do not reflect the look and feel of employee engagement and, in each, you may have a performance problem on your hands. Is it a one-time incident or a pattern? Let it go at the risk of further jeopardizing your customer service, the engagement of your other staff and the overall performance of your team, department or organization. Nip it in the bud. Now.

Photo credit: Canadian via Andrew B. Meyers