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As an HR Manager, your main duties include overseeing your companies HR programs and policies as they apply to employee relations, compensation, benefits, safety, performance and staffing levels. You're a representative of the company's, as well as the employee's interests, often times the confidant when an employee is experiencing an issue in the work place. However, you can also be viewed as a villain when dealing with disciplinary issues, reprimand and firing.
Find the balance between confidant in the service of your employees and the enforcer of your company policies with these 6 tips for becoming an more approachable HR manager.
1. Have an open door policy: All the time. You can block open hours on your calendar, but keep your door open. If someone stops by with an issue, use a private conference room or meeting space so that your office is always open. This way you always appear available and the private room is a neutral space makes people feel more secure.
2. Keep it confidential and ask permission: This is a no-brainer. While your employees should trust that you are keeping their information and issues private, in some instances you may need to bring in a third party, like management. Inform them that you plan to bring in someone to assist and ask their permission to share their issue.
3. Reply and follow up in a timely manner: It can be hard to keep up with all the things, but communication with your employees about benefits, personnel issues, promotions, etc is important. Be timely in your response about any requests and follow up to make sure there aren't any further questions or needs.
4. Provide resources: When dealing with sensitive issues in the workplace, it's always great to offer advice and put requests through the proper channels, but it's also great to provide additional resources. Maybe an employee is suffering from carpal tunnel, have some prepared literature with information about carpal tunnel and some prevention and treatment. Perhaps an employee is interested in an open position in the company, but lacks some of the required skills. Offer them a training schedule or course material related to the position. This is a great proactive approach and shows your employees that you have a process and are knowledgeable in all situations. After all, it's part of your title!
5. Shadow: You're busy, but taking time out of your schedule, once a month, to shadow a department or particular position within the company will do wonders for your employee relations. Understanding the roles for which you recruit is a huge benefit and it let's your employees know you care about them and the types of people you bring in for interviews.
6. Let loose!: Don't be a afraid to let loose and enjoy the company of your workforce. Events, lunches, work outings- while you are there to monitor and make sure there aren't any incidents, don't be afraid to join in the fun. You are a manager of the people, but you are human too. Let your employees see that. It definitely builds a level of comfort and trust.
For more tips on developing your managerial skills, check out Tips to Develop a Manager Mindset.