Organizations can’t exist without people. They can’t even open the front door in the morning, empty the wastebaskets or clean the washroom, much less make client calls, crunch numbers or answer the phone.
People matter and HR is there to manage their interests, but it’s also there to ensure the company’s interests are protected in employee relationships.
So, should HR give employees advice? That’s a broad question and it’s one affecting many employers. Nowhere is it a more pressing issue than in minimum wage scenarios and workplaces in which unskilled labor is required.
There’s a nuanced answer and it starts with HR’s knowledge of employees’ immediate needs. The other question you should be asking in tandem with the one in the title is “What can HR do?”
HR’s not social services. Right?
If you’re sitting there thinking that HR’s not social services, then a reality check may be in order. Sure, you’re not the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, but without your people, you’re not in business either.
While providing a wage boost to employees who are struggling isn’t always going to be possible, there are other things companies can do. For example, a transit pass can take some of the heat off cash-strapped employees. There’s even something in it for you, with tax breaks and incentives provided by the government to employers who take this step.
Many companies are setting up employee-run gardens and other helpful programs like clothing exchanges and flexible hours. None of these supports costs a lot of money and they create team-building opportunities and a sense of community among your employees.
And those are good things.
A two-way street
Some employers would rather not know that some of their employees are having a tough time. That’s probably not the smartest attitude to take in the matter.
Those people are what your business is built on and HR is on both teams, in the end. Employees who come to you asking for advice should be heard. Not only that but having a handle on local support services builds HR’s relationship with employees.
When employers and HR departments take the initiative and put in place “just-in-case” measures that provide a type of safety net for employees in crisis, they’re supporting not just the employees being advised. They’re supporting the health of their enterprise.
Savvy HR departments and employers don’t fear the possibility of reprisals for directing employees to external help. They know they’re not liable and that the health of their employees is a priority. That means physical, emotional and mental health. If you have the means to reach out, then use them.
By doing so, you’ll also bolster your public profile and become an employer that’s sought after by superior talent.
Precedent HR offers employers like you superior recruitment solutions which helps you find the kind of top talent your enterprise needs.
We’re setting the standard in Applicant Tracking and Management that supports your quest to find the right people and retain them.