In HR we have to be tightrope walkers. We balance between listening and supporting the employees and consulting with the managers to give them the best advice. The rope is the company. We always have to stand tall on the rope and keep our eyes forward to get to the other side!
Sometimes we lean a little further to the right, towards our employees. We listen and focus and hopefully make things better for them. We can empathize with the employee’s situation. This is goodness and it is right. We want every employee to come to work and enjoy the time they spend here and do the best work of their lives.
When it is a tough situation they are bringing to our attention and we can listen and offer the right advice, that is a win. We have to investigate the issues they bring forward and put the puzzle pieces together.
Other times we lean to the left a bit more, with the manager. It is easy to identify with their frustrations and we understand that they want to resolve issues quickly. We want to provide support and help them get back to the business at hand. We want to teach them how to handle difficult employee situations without a disruption in service to our customers.
Now about the rope itself. We need to stay balanced between the employee and the manager while also keeping the best interests of the company in mind. We have rules and policies that need to be followed. We need to be thoughtful and knowledgeable about legal guidelines so we don’t end up putting the company at risk. And we need to keep moving so we don’t lose our balance and fall- it can be a long way down.
I am proud when I get to sit down with a manager after resolving a tough situation and share what we learned together. It is fantastic to get a kudos email from an employee who worked with someone on my team and got the support they needed during a tough situation.
So how do we do all the things for all the people? Carefully and all while maintaining balance. If we can walk the tightrope we can get to the other side and build a great organization for our employees, our managers, and ourselves.