By: Dorris Hollingsworth, vice president of human resources at Carter
It is essential for employees and companies to understand the function and importance of human resources within their organization. Many employees don’t take advantage of the benefits human resources has to offer.
Last Friday I had the opportunity to be a guest on PBS’s radio show, At Work. Each week, the show covers a variety of topics about how to advance your career and is co-hosted by Emory Mulling and Brandon Smith.
The topic of last week’s show was the role of HR in companies. I explain HR with the Switzerland analogy, except for the banks and chocolate, of course. In many situations, the HR team serves as a neutral presence in the company.
Human Resources is a business and management function with responsibility for programs and processes that support associates within the company. In many cases HR can help with conflict resolution, give employees a better understanding of situations and can help people determine how to properly initiate conversations about issues.
Many employees don’t have a relationship with the HR team until a problem arrives. However, it is useful to get to know the team and engage in casual conversation in order to establish a relationship; if issues were to arise in the workplace, it will be much easier to have an open conversation with HR if you have begun a relationship.
Confidentiality is a question that comes up in many discussions with HR, and we often can maintain confidentiality. Associates should realize that it is not possible to guarantee confidentiality if there is an ethics, law or policy violation, or if the situation presents danger in the workplace.
You may want to approach HR if there is an issue where your career is stalled, if you feel like you’re not getting ahead or if your manager is not providing solid and helpful feedback. All are common situations where HR can establish two-way communication and find a solution.
My greatest advice is to take advantage of the resources available to you and establish an ongoing relationship with the members of your HR team.
Dorris Hollingsworth joined Carter in 2006, and has 15 years experience in the human resource field spanning a variety of industries and working with both publicly and privately held companies. Her background includes employee relations, talent development, mediation, recruitment and legal/regulatory issues. Hollingsworth holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation from HRCI, the certification arm of the Society for Human Resource Management.