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Susan M. Heathfield

Do Managers Listen to HR?

By January 28, 2014

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What's your experience? Do your managers listen to HR? Please respond to this reader in comments.

Reader Question:

"Hello Susan,

"I have been receiving e-mails from your site for quite a few months now. I really enjoy the info I receive. I have been doing HR for the last 9 years. I have hit a point in my career where I am no longer happy. At this point in time I don't have the time nor the means to go back to school and start all over again. I kind of fell into HR. I consider myself a Generalist, although my title is HR Manager.

"I am not happy where I am, but because of the state of the economy and the fact that my pay and the flexibility are pretty good, I am sticking it out.

"I work in a food plant where everyone, from the GM (General Manager) to line supervisors, does whatever they want and don't heed any advice that comes from HR. It is very frustrating. About 80% of every day consists of damage control. What can I do to get the attention of the guys and get them to start complying?"

What would you advise this HR Manager so she enables herself to contribute and gains more skill in influencing managers and supervisors within her work environment?

Image Copyright Dieter Spears

More Related to Influence and HR

February 8, 2013 at 5:22 pm
(1) Tony says:

Typical of most in HR, I fell into HR, lol! Amazed at the number of HR people who aren’t formally trained.

June 26, 2013 at 10:36 am
(2) Jonas Mann says:

Dear HR Manager,

Without knowing much in detail about your problem, I think it could be caused by two things, (i) missing understanding of your role and suggestions from the other managers and (ii) the communication between you and the managers.
(i) In this situation I would start building a better relationship with your peers/managers, make them understand where they can benefit from your help and knowledge. When this relationship is established I believe they will use your expertise.
(ii) Are you communicating with your peers/managers in a proper way? Do they understand how you communicate your suggestions and how to approach these and take them in to effect. As a HR manager you know we are all different and learn/listen differently, which in some cases can make the communication more difficult.

One thing I always try to adapt in to my work, is something I took with me from Balanced Scorecard. In this theory it is important to make sure everyone from top to bottom understand your strategy/intentions. To do this you need to make sure, that when you communicate you make it tangible and understandable for the receiver and make the receiver able to see and use this on a day to day basis in the work.

As we are working with people, there will never be a correct answer. It will always be a learning process until you understand your peers and they understand you.

Ps. I just saw the last comment from Tony – Formal training is not always the right way, practical experience can and will be just as useful. That being said if you feel like you are missing capabilities it is never too late to learn.

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