Basic HR Expectations

Dear HRart Worker, 

Recently, I was reminded how much we take our basic HR knowledge for granted, especially when it comes to accountability. For me the progressive corrective action process seemed so natural and effective. Regardless of what your actual progression is, HR universally recognizes that providing specific feedback in a timely manner provides the space for an employee to grow or move on. 

Despite this truth, one of the most common conversations we have on a regular basis is a form of advocacy for accountability. For years I believed that leaders merely avoided the act because of their own personal fears of conflict. While I still believe this is a contributing factor, I now see at the root of this disconnect is an assumption. 

Those who thrive in HR know that they see the business through a very different lens than operations. Although we accept this, we still assume that operations can fully comprehend fundamental elements of our lens.  As a result, we end up engaging in debates on why a detail is essential on a coaching form when a specific circumstance should be documented and on the significance of consistency.

As I reflected on this common cycle that we navigate regardless of a change in leadership or employer, it poses the question… what’s missing? The answer is HR expectations. We ingrain in our leadership the critical need for establishing expectations, yet we fail to do it for ourselves. As a result, we are seen as a department of one, tasked to resolve nearly every people-related issue in the organization. 

HR is more than a person, position or department, it is a business function. It is a responsibility shared with every person in leadership that is expected to manage people. However, before this reality can successfully materialize, leadership must be trained. Leadership must be given the opportunity to learn the why behind your lens. 

If we move in this direction, HR becomes less of a dumping ground and more of a guide. A guide to care for the most valuable part of your business, the people. HR was always intended to train and educate, yet this is routinely placed at the bottom of the list because of the endless fires that need to be extinguished. Education is the key to support, relief and balance. Training opens up the possibility of drastically decreasing, maybe even ceasing the fire-causing elements. 

This week, we are revisiting a HRart Rise Morning Show episode (below) all about assumptions and expectations. Watch and let’s continue our conversation on how much we assume in the workplace. 

You can also find the video lesson here:


p.s. This blog post was adapted from the Letters From the HRart fortnightly newsletter. I invite you to subscribe

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