Being an HR professional isn’t always easy. Many of the most anxiety-inducing and uncomfortable tasks involving employee management get passed to HR. While you may not ever see these workplace tasks featured on “Dirty Jobs” style shows, they are enough to make most people cringe.
Providing Negative Performance Feedback
It’s never easy to tell someone that they aren’t doing a good job, so employers and managers often pass this task to HR professionals. The prospect of relaying negative feedback is enough to keep many people awake at night. It can become even more difficult when HR managers don’t work directly with the employee often and have no solid answers to questions the employee may have about their performance.
Addressing Hygiene Issues
Bringing up hygiene issues can be extremely embarrassing for all parties involved. No one wants to be told that they have bad breath or that their underarm sweat is noticeable, but these are conversations that can help to keep a workplace consistent and professional. It’s important that these conversations stay courteous and to the point, as there may be legalities involved if the problem is caused by a medical condition.
Terminating an Employee
Whether an employee is being let go because of downsizing, performance, or behavior, it’s never an easy conversation to have. Losing a job is one of the most stressful things that a person can go through and most HR professionals are extremely sensitive to that fact. Employees may also have diverse and unpredictable reactions to termination, which can add to the stress.
Additionally, an HR professional’s task doesn’t end when the employee understands that they no longer have a job. The employee must be informed of benefits and resources that are available and an exit interview may be required. After receiving such life altering news, most employees just want to get away, so the conversation may seem to drag for both parties.
Communicating Bad News
When a phone call comes in that an employee’s family member has been injured or even killed, it may fall to the HR professional on duty to relay the news to the employee. It’s tough to watch someone go through the stress of realizing that a loved one is hurt. Again, employees may act unpredictably when given bad news, making the situation even more volatile and difficult.
Recruiting New Employees
While hiring new employees can be rewarding when a candidate is excited about the position, a lot is at stake when it comes to recruitment. A bad hire can cost the company in many ways, so HR professionals often feel the pressure to make the right decision about a candidate.
Unethical or illegal behavior must be uncovered and responded to, but internal investigations to do so can be nerve wracking. It may be necessary to obtain legal counsel and document all conversations regarding the issue. Internal investigations may become tedious and overwhelming for everyone in a workplace, especially the HR professionals that are in charge of spearheading them.