Five Typical Human Resources Managers Deal With
- Interpersonal Conflict
- Harassment and Discrimination
- Safety Issues
- Wage, Hour and Leave Issues
People with a human resources degree who plan to work in the field of HR may encounter some common employee concerns. It is important to take the below concerns seriously for reasons ranging from employee retention to protecting the company from legal action to ensuring that employees remain safe in the workplace.
1. Interpersonal Conflict
Some form of interpersonal conflict is almost inevitable in the workplace. This conflict could be between coworkers or could involve an employee and a supervisor. One or more of the people involved in the conflict may come to human resources seeking a solution. It might be possible to arrange mediation to work out the conflict between the individuals. In some cases, it may be possible to work out an arrangement in which the people experiencing the conflict do not have much contact with one another, but it is critical that this is not a change that could adversely affect either person’s career. This could open the company up to charges of discrimination.
2. Harassment and Discrimination
As an article in Forbes points out, reports about workplace sexual harassment seem to be at an all-time high, or at least the media reports about them do. This may be one of the most common employee concerns at the moment, and human resources departments must be prepared to deal with complaints. It is critical that companies have clear policies about harassment and discrimination, that human resources departments encourage employees to make reports, and that any reports made are thoroughly investigated.
3. Safety Issues
Human resources departments often have the task of overseeing employee safety and health. Some companies may have safety professionals with specific training in the field, but this is a rarer discipline than HR as discussed in this article from EHS Today. As a result, a person with a human resources degree may be dealing with issues ranging from preventing accidents in the workplace to ensuring that overtime shifts do not have a negative effect on employee health to protecting against workplace violence.
Various types of training fall under the remit of the human resources department including training regarding harassment and discrimination and safety issues. However, HR may also be involved in other types of employee training including helping guide employees toward opportunities for continuing education in their field. Human resources may also be involved in helping to set up training when changes are made to software or other systems.
5. Wage, Hour and Leave Issues
Like issues around harassment and discrimination, an improper understanding of employee rights regarding pay and leave can leave a company vulnerable to lawsuits. From paying employees correcting for overtime to dealing with annual leave to ensuring that employees do not face retaliation for taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, HR departments have a number of responsibilities in this area. HR might also be involved in choosing and managing timekeeping software.
HR professionals act as a kind of bridge between the company and the employees. A good HR professional tries to reach mutually agreeable solutions that promote the interests of both the employee and the company. A human resources degree is part of the necessary preparation for working in this field and ensuring that common employee concerns are addressed.