Dear HR Department – The Good Men Project

Empty meeting room

Dawn WestmorelandYuck! I read a social media post the other day where a person called Human Resources—Human Rats.

I don’t think all of us HR people are bad folks. My stomach churned after reading this person’s rant. I became sick and tired of being told that I had to always support my management, in a former job. I was often told to withhold information that would help an employee.

There was no way that I would ignore any employee that came to me for help and asked about their benefits or entitlements. Why? I always put others before myself and learned a lot about leadership after spending 20 years in the United States Air Force.

HR is often a part of management, but they may be able to influence managers and supervisors to be more considerate and respectful to their employees. Empathy and respect must trickle down from the top leader of a company to the employees.

Most people want to be treated fairly at their workplace. For example, if an employee works in a job where they can invoke the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if applicable, HR personnel usually processes their paperwork. Unless that paperwork is not complete or updated accurately, the person who is entitled to utilize FMLA is allowed to take advantage of this Act.

According to the Department of Labor, FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal employment opportunity for men and women.

There is nothing worse than a supervisor not being prepared to cover an employee’s position if they need to invoke FMLA and take time off for a medical issue. It is crucial that company leaders realize that the cost of replacing a good employee can be prohibitive. Think about it—the cost of recruiting, interviewing, onboarding, training a new hire is not cheap!

Cancer can touch anyone’s life—it does not matter if it’s an employee or the CEO of a company—many people want to take time off to provide care or support their loved one.

Empathy is a fundamental trait needed in our workplace, today. So, HR personnel when your supervisors come to you and complain that they will be short staffed if their employee takes off time to invoke FMLA or utilize time off, please remind them that they are a valued employee.

Encourage your management to emphasize having a backup plan, ensure supervisors are held accountable for running a productive workplace. Suggest that their work evaluations include treating their employees with respect. Take a no-nonsense approach to employees being harassed by their supervisors because they need or have earned the right to take off time for rest or vacation.

If your management tells you to support them and you deny the employee what is rightfully theirs—you may be committing an action that comes with negative consequences. Is it worth it to back up your management if the employee is entitled to a perk or a benefit?

Please don’t sell your soul—leave the job and find another one where the management treats their employees well or become an entrepreneur. You may even sleep better at night.

Thank you to all the HR personnel who value and treat employees with respect—you are showing others that there is a better way and employees will likely trust their management more and with loyalty.


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