Enforcers vs. Sympathy
Posted on July 26, 2013 by TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd)
Human resource professionals have a tough job. We are called in when there are very serious problems and it is often up to us to lay down the law and make sure problems among employees or involving employees are resolved. Often, we have to do the “dirty” work that few others desire to undertake.
The hardest part of human resource management is that HR professionals also do have hearts. There are countless times that I receive phone calls from employees that are enough to bring tears to your eyes. The employee may have something going on in their lives that they cannot control such as a recent death in the family or a major health care problem. What do I say when an employee is sick and needs a medical leave of absence but is not eligible?
Although I do have to stick to the policies and rules of my organization, it does not mean I cannot offer the employee a bit of understanding. I have listened to many employees in tears on the other line and I always do my best to make sure the employee calms down even just a little and understands the process. I may not be to change the decision, but it is vital to make sure the employee feels that someone at least cares.
Organizations can get themselves in real trouble if they begin to allow their feelings to bend the rules. For example, if you organization has an attendance policy, it is important that the policy is enforced for every employee at all times. If exceptions are made for employees here and there, this can lead the organization to face discrimination complaints. It is vital to take feelings out of these decisions as much as possible and make sure the policy always wins. This does not make it easy when an employee calls and says, “I couldn’t make it to work because my car broke down” but it keeps the playing ground as fair as possible.
What is the best advice you have for HR professionals? What have been your past experiences?