HR Management & Compliance

More Common Traits Among Top HR Managers

In part 1 of this article we explored three things that great HR managers have in common. Today we’ll look at the rest of that list.

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1. They’re Not Lax About Unhealthy Events

HR people often take the rap for being unfriendly and combative simply because they deal with conflict resolution and handle a lot of the negative events that happen internally. Abuse and harassment should never be tolerated, and yet we live in a culture where it’s often brushed under the rug. No respectful HR team or manager would ever handle negative events this way. Shedding some light on a major problem can help ensure others don’t repeat it.

According to the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), U.S. companies have paid out over $295 million for sexual harassment charges over the last 7 years. The implications of these events go beyond monetary damages, however. Employee productivity, sentiment, loyalty, and turnover rates are altered irrevocably.

Every business should have a clear antiharassment policy in place, as well as proper investigative teams and processes to prevent further escalation. Multiple points of contact should be used to report violations, mitigating serious corruption. And there must always be clear and immediate consequences for the offender or harasser.

As for dealing with complaints, Michele Gonzalez-Pitek SHRM-SCP from Pitek Consulting says it’s best to take action immediately.

“Respond to the complaint right away by setting up time to talk to those involved. This will let the complainant know you take this seriously. Immediately let upper management know—you never know if the situation will escalate and it’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate. Notify those involved when the investigation is complete while maintaining confidentiality on your findings.”

2. They Know Documentation Is Always Necessary

Every business must clearly and correctly document and define the things that happen internally. This means documenting professional conversations, notable events, employee interactions—both positive and negative—existing processes and more.

HR professionals are the last line of defense between a company and confusion. Therefore, HR managers must organize themselves, working processes, and documentation to help eliminate potential hang-ups.

In addition, the documentation should be handled in an easily discoverable and readable way. Many businesses use digital systems to do away with archaic paper trails and related storage. You can fit a lot more on a hard drive than you can in a cardboard box.

While effective, it still needs to occur in an accessible way, relying on advanced data systems and hardware to ingest raw data and convert it into more actionable information. This has a lot to do with big data and analytics platforms, some even powered by machine learning.

It doesn’t matter what you use, although some solutions are more effective than others. What matters is that the documentation is accessible and readable to all in a time of need.

3. They Help Shape Company Culture

HR professionals are expressly responsible for bringing in potential candidates who fit with the company culture. Not only are they tasked with seeking capable, talented individuals, but they must find people who match the needs of the business and greater team. If someone doesn’t fit, then he or she simply shouldn’t be involved with the business.

HR must continue to train and develop a candidate who becomes a full-time employee.  In this way, HR departments are directly involved with shaping company culture, which means they can both make or break it. It’s not just a matter of policy creation and deployment—it’s much bigger.

Making mistakes and letting in a Trojan horse type who wreaks havoc on the internal culture and personnel will have much bigger ramifications than a drop in employee satisfaction. HR mirrors a last line of defense, keeping out unwanted invaders and potential troublemakers. This is exactly why they incorporate new hire testing policies, probationary periods, and similar checkpoints to ensure the right people make it inside the corporate walls.

When it comes to culture, the HR department handles a lot more than hiring and training potential candidates. It influences company values, helps shape brand image, and communicates and updates internal policies and benefits as well.

HR Is Vital to a Successful Business

In more recent times, talk about separating or splitting up HR into varying forms has grown. It seems that a common misconception has begun to spread, painting the long-proven field as unnecessary. That’s not true at all. HR is more important than ever in today’s climate, where businesses must continue to avoid not just external but internal scandals and ineffective policies.

HR team members look out for everyone’s best interests, which means the most skilled of these professionals are hardly noticed because that’s when things are going well.

Kayla Matthews, a technology journalist and human resources writer, has written for TalentCulture, The Muse, HR Technologist,, and more. For more by Matthews, follow @KaylaEMatthews on Twitter or visit her blog, Productivity Bytes.