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I'm in HR, AMA

(148 Posts)
Hollyhocksarenotmessy Fri 13-Nov-20 14:20:03

AMA in general - if you want advice on a personal employment issue please go to Work or Legal forums.

OP’s posts: |
Pandy7 Sun 15-Nov-20 00:02:18

Why can people be recruited as HR assistants without knowing anything about employment law?

Changethetoner Sun 15-Nov-20 00:03:53

What sort of reference would you give for an ex employee who left without working their notice? Would it just be a factual one, stating the dates?

sparklebumfluffybutt Sun 15-Nov-20 00:04:11

Are you really just there to protect the company or do you make efforts to get the best for employees?

Hollyhocksarenotmessy Sun 15-Nov-20 12:17:46

Pandy7

Why can people be recruited as HR assistants without knowing anything about employment law?

HR Assistant is an entry level role, and many people enter the profession without previous experience and train on the job, alongside studying professional qualifications. HR departments usually carefully control who can deal with what types of work. It's a bit like a finance department, people rarely start off knowing everything about tax law.

OP’s posts: |
Hollyhocksarenotmessy Sun 15-Nov-20 12:25:58

Changethetoner

What sort of reference would you give for an ex employee who left without working their notice? Would it just be a factual one, stating the dates?

It depends. In most cases, references just include job title and dates.

I have worked in a couple of places where safeguarding and welfare of service users is the top priority. Those references are more detailed as there is a duty to share info with other employers. Not working notice could have put someone at risk, so yes, then I would mention it.

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Melassa Sun 15-Nov-20 12:50:50

What drew you to HR? What aspect of the role do you like best?

I manage a fairly large team and the HR aspect is my least favourite. I find the whole psychological part exhausting. As my team has grown so has the range of personalities and I spend far too much time and energy on trying to keep the peace between people. At times it seemed like I was running a nursery! I do address the issues individually and as a group, it stops for a while then slips back into crèche mode.

Now that we’re WFH it has died down a lot as the sighing and sulky vibes from the offended parties have no effect outside an office environment, which is a huge relief. I’m actually tempted to keep the main offenders WFH even when we do go back but in the long run this is not sustainable as they are the more senior people.

Gregariousfox Sun 15-Nov-20 12:55:11

Do you realise how cynical many people are about HR? All those staff surveys where nothing changes, the recruitment processes where there's already an internal candidate, the cultural change processes which are just a way to shut people up? And the people who bully people in the workplace never get moved on, it's always the victim that is paid off, eased out, offered a different (worse) role.

Hollyhocksarenotmessy Sun 15-Nov-20 13:24:10

sparklebumfluffybutt

Are you really just there to protect the company or do you make efforts to get the best for employees?

Both.

People say that HR are on the side of the company like it's a bad thing. Every department works for the company. No one complains s about IT, or Marketing, reproduction working for the best of the company. I'd you want someone who is independently on your side as an employee, join a union. Do you really want HR to work against the best interests of the company? Make the company less profitable, less efficient, etc, so less successful, which means theres less money to go on salaries, training, staff welfare?

Saying that, we do a hell of a lot on staff wellbeing, supporting managers to manage properly (which means not letting them sack people on the spot for example), and most of us do make employees lives better in ways you may never hear of.

OP’s posts: |
Hollyhocksarenotmessy Sun 15-Nov-20 13:28:53

Melassa

What drew you to HR? What aspect of the role do you like best?

I manage a fairly large team and the HR aspect is my least favourite. I find the whole psychological part exhausting. As my team has grown so has the range of personalities and I spend far too much time and energy on trying to keep the peace between people. At times it seemed like I was running a nursery! I do address the issues individually and as a group, it stops for a while then slips back into crèche mode.

Now that we’re WFH it has died down a lot as the sighing and sulky vibes from the offended parties have no effect outside an office environment, which is a huge relief. I’m actually tempted to keep the main offenders WFH even when we do go back but in the long run this is not sustainable as they are the more senior people.

We let line managers manage people, but should be supporting you with info, training g and coaching. New managers get a lot of support from me, but yes, sometimes you just want to get two employees and bang their heads together.

I enjoy HR as it is always varied and you never know what will turn up each day. There's the chance to help people and make a difference on a day to day level, and deeper analytical and strategic project work. Never boring once you get past the early admin-heavy roles.

OP’s posts: |
Hollyhocksarenotmessy Sun 15-Nov-20 13:34:59

Gregariousfox

Do you realise how cynical many people are about HR? All those staff surveys where nothing changes, the recruitment processes where there's already an internal candidate, the cultural change processes which are just a way to shut people up? And the people who bully people in the workplace never get moved on, it's always the victim that is paid off, eased out, offered a different (worse) role.

Yeah, I know. We get very cynical too. We can make recommendations and push strongly for what we think is right ( and we do - HR people will stand up to the senior team and board), but we don't make the ultimate decisions. We need board approval same as anyone. We are also easy to blame - so many managers say HR wont let me' when it's bullshit.

I agree that a lot of what we want to do is stalled as the leaders often want to take the tried and tested route. If you have a board that is open to new ideas, we can achieve a lot. It's one of the big frustrations in HR.

OP’s posts: |
maddiemookins16mum Mon 16-Nov-20 07:25:49

We’ve had a new starter on our team within the last 6 weeks. Without beating about the bush, there is no way she’ll be able to do the job. She is one of 5 who started, they all start with the basics are are trained up over approx 4 months to move to a more complicated role. She cannot even grasp the basics. Has fallen way behind her peers, cannot be ‘trusted’ to do some tasks the others are doing totally fine. Several of us are giving her huge amounts of extra one to one support and extra training, all to no avail. The other day she said ‘sometimes I even forget how to spell my name’. We simply cannot see how she’ll be able to move along to the harder role.
HR don’t want to terminate her contract.
Why do you think that might be?

Hollyhocksarenotmessy Mon 16-Nov-20 08:36:00

maddiemookins16mum

We’ve had a new starter on our team within the last 6 weeks. Without beating about the bush, there is no way she’ll be able to do the job. She is one of 5 who started, they all start with the basics are are trained up over approx 4 months to move to a more complicated role. She cannot even grasp the basics. Has fallen way behind her peers, cannot be ‘trusted’ to do some tasks the others are doing totally fine. Several of us are giving her huge amounts of extra one to one support and extra training, all to no avail. The other day she said ‘sometimes I even forget how to spell my name’. We simply cannot see how she’ll be able to move along to the harder role.
HR don’t want to terminate her contract.
Why do you think that might be?

I dont know, presumably her Manager has spoken to HR.

Generally speaking:

Possibly because it's very early days and they are looking at ways to help her meet the required standard. It depends what your policies are. They may require a period of performance management.

There may be reasons for underperformance you are not aware of, that are being taken into account.

OP’s posts: |
YukoandHiro Mon 16-Nov-20 08:36:50

Have you ever worked for a company where your job has actually been to support the employee rather than protect the company at all costs?

Hollyhocksarenotmessy Mon 16-Nov-20 08:59:10

YukoandHiro

Have you ever worked for a company where your job has actually been to support the employee rather than protect the company at all costs?

I think you need to see my previous answer about the role of HR.

HR works in many ways for the company. One of those things is to protect the company from legal action. It's not 'at all costs' though - I would not do Anything illegal or unethical. I protect the company by ensuring it complies with employment law, which also protects all the employees.

If you are in an organisation where what is good for the employees is not the same as what is good for the employer, then you need a new job.

There isn't supposed to be an either or culture.

As I said before, if you want someone to always agree with you, join a union.

OP’s posts: |
maddiemookins16mum Mon 16-Nov-20 09:01:18

I have another, sorry ☺️.
Employee A - been at the company 10 years, very low level admin role (basically opening/sorting post, bit of scanning and filing), not enough to keep busy, 3 years off retirement. Can’t (won’t) use email or teams unless really has to (will write a note and put on persons desk instead). Spends several hours a day reading the paper as literally nothing to give him to keep busy that they can do. On 20K a year.
Employee B - been there shy of 3 years. Far more tasks of a complex level which are completed, always busy, responsible for a team of 5 (training, overseeing allocation of work etc, the person that everyone ‘goes to’ for all varieties of help) On 17.5K a year.
Is person B being discriminated against due to their length of service?

Respectabitch Mon 16-Nov-20 09:08:08

People say that HR are on the side of the company like it's a bad thing. Every department works for the company. No one complains s about IT, or Marketing, reproduction working for the best of the company. I'd you want someone who is independently on your side as an employee, join a union. Do you really want HR to work against the best interests of the company? Make the company less profitable, less efficient, etc, so less successful, which means theres less money to go on salaries, training, staff welfare?

Saying that, we do a hell of a lot on staff wellbeing, supporting managers to manage properly (which means not letting them sack people on the spot for example), and most of us do make employees lives better in ways you may never hear of.

Yeah, as someone who also works in the field, this. This "are you on the side of the company or the employee?" is a silly and spurious distinction. Companies staff and fund an HR division (which, remember, is a big cost centre and generates 0 direct profit) because it's in their interest to effectively manage their human resources. That doesn't mean that HR is there to screw the employee. In general the best way to be profitable is to hire good people and manage them well. Companies rise and fall on their talent. It's 100% in companies' commercial interests to manage people legally, compassionately where possible, and humanly.

That doesn't mean it always happens perfectly. Managing people is very hard and many managers are very bad at it. Employees often have no real idea of the commercial imperatives or an inflated or distorted view of their own importance or of employment law. Some companies have shitty toxic cultures and consequently make bad decisions. When the profit just isn't there to fund decent HR initiatives, it isn't. But a skilled, hardworking employee is a big commercial asset and if you prove yourself as such a good company and HR department will probably go a good way for you.

Hollyhocksarenotmessy Mon 16-Nov-20 09:19:24

No, it's not legally discriminatory if that is the reason for the difference.
You can act on discrimination on specific protected characteristics such as age, sex or race (there are more).

OP’s posts: |
redkenso Mon 16-Nov-20 09:20:36

Do you ever use redundancy to get rid of a specific individual ?

Didiusfalco Mon 16-Nov-20 09:24:32

This is a bit of a personal one. Would it be bad form to go for a new job knowing that you were going to be off for a prolonged period for surgery shortly after starting if successful.

Hollyhocksarenotmessy Mon 16-Nov-20 09:50:49

redkenso

Do you ever use redundancy to get rid of a specific individual ?

Honestly, no, not personally. There are other ways to manage problematic people out, without creating a fake redundancy.

I'm sure it happens, but not as often as people think, as it's quite a risky thing to do.

OP’s posts: |
Plussizejumpsuit Mon 16-Nov-20 09:53:29

I've mainly worked in charity and non profit organisations in the cultural sector. But when I worked in a for profit buisness I very much felt the hr department was there to protect the company rather than for the interests of employees. Do you think there's a truth to that?

Hollyhocksarenotmessy Mon 16-Nov-20 09:55:22

Didiusfalco

This is a bit of a personal one. Would it be bad form to go for a new job knowing that you were going to be off for a prolonged period for surgery shortly after starting if successful.

There's nothing legally wrong with it, and you don't have to tell the employer.

'Bad form' is a matter of opinion. Some people would say yes, some people would say no. If you are one of many people in that role, it may not have a huge impact on your employer. If you go to a small business with 2 other employees, you won't be making yourself very popular.

OP’s posts: |
Hollyhocksarenotmessy Mon 16-Nov-20 09:56:41

Plussizejumpsuit

I've mainly worked in charity and non profit organisations in the cultural sector. But when I worked in a for profit buisness I very much felt the hr department was there to protect the company rather than for the interests of employees. Do you think there's a truth to that?

Hi, please see other answers to this question on this thread.

OP’s posts: |
huuuuunnnndderrricks Mon 16-Nov-20 10:00:21

Why are you paid disproportionately more money than other careers ?

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