Human Resources & The Employee

What is the first word that comes to mind when I say Human Resources? For me, it is two words: conflict resolution. The truth is that most of us assume that the role solely entails being the mediator between the company and its employees. That the department only exists to resolve ethical conflict in the work environment.

Conflict resolution is a small piece of the complex puzzle the role comprises. Human Resources plays an integral part in an employee’s professional journey. I equate them to a well-meaning, multi-tasking, working mom that is a life-line when employees have questions or problems in the workplace. Any questions relating to recruiting, screening, hiring, employee placement, employee relations (conflict resolution), benefits, payroll & salary grades, and licensing can be handled through the Human Resource department. 

Human Resources is the best source for employee related questions because they play an active role in almost every aspect of the employee work life. The first time an employee encounters Human Resources is surprisingly not at their interview. It is while a potential employee is scrolling job descriptions. The Human Resource department coordinates with upper management to fill positions needed. The position description, required skills, salary grade, and benefits offered are created from a collaborative effort.

Once the potential employee submits an application, Human Resources screens the application to see if the applicant will move on for an interview. Depending on the position and the company, a screening may consist of a phone interview or exam prior to being recommended for a phone interview. A successful applicant then receives an offer letter from Human Resources. The offer letter contains the start date, schedule, salary, and benefits. Human Resources has the authority to negotiate the aspects of the offer letter based on the quality of the applicant and/or the urgency in filling the position.

Human Resources then is responsible for assisting with all applicable administrative paperwork including but not limited to: licensing & licensing renewals, payroll, and benefits enrollment or benefit changes. During the administrative process, Human Resources addresses employee placement and trains employees on the proper procedure if the employee encounters an ethical dilemma or issue with a co-worker. Other potential interactions with Human Resources will be dependent on employee performance. A successful employee interaction may consist of a pay raise, while a struggling employee interaction may consist of an action plan or termination.

Whether you see Human Resources as a friend, a foe, or somewhere in between, the overall goal of the Human Resources department is to help employees transition as smoothly as possible no matter the stage of the journey.