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5 Ways Managers Can Make HR Love Them....

If you're a manager and have to deal with HR, is it important to you that HR respects/loves you?  Probably not.  After all, you are a manager in charge of operations, and HR is there to support you.  Not the other way around..

If that's how you feel, I agree with you.  We're here to support you.  Still, we have opinions about theHug_it_out2 characteristics that make a strong, employee-centric, HR-friendly manager.   You know, the reasons, if we weren't restricted by law and discomfort, that would make us hug it out...

I guess every HR Manager/Director/VP has a different list about what makes them love their most effective managers.  Here are my top 5 characteristics that make me DIG you as a manager:

5.  You clearly communicate expectations - Your employees understand their objectives, and they also understand performance you consider to be not meeting, meeting and exceeding your expectations in each micro area.  Not a lot of suprises in your group when it comes to perfomrance management.  Nice...

4.  Talent is important to you, but you are a realist - You want the best talent, but you seem to have a knack regarding what type of talent you can get for your open slot.  With that in mind, you'll hold out for a better candidate, but you know when to cut to the chase and close the deal. 

3.  You have a sense of urgency in Employee Relations issues - You know if you let employee relations issues fester in your group, it's only going to get worse.  With that in mind, you're proactive, and always looking to talk about where you need to go with a certain situation to ensure it doesn't blow up.

2.  You have a situation-specific sense of humor - Face it, we talk about a lot of sticky stuff, including your own plight, and you mix humor with seriousness like a champ.  Thanks for understanding we're going to work through it and laughing with me/at me.

1.  You have the ability to anticipate outcomes and reactions to your actions - You see the game.  If you are thinking about taking a specific action, you proactively talk about what that will mean to others, how others will perceive it, the poliitical landscape, etc.

In other words you get it.  I'm glad you're on my team.  You want to hug it out?  Let's hug it out...

Notice, I didn't put something administrative in the list, like "you get the forms to me', or "your reviews are always done on time".   I'd like to have that as well, but candidly, we can fix those things when you miss. 

If you couldn't do the items above, all the administrative excellence in the world wouldn't matter...Of course, that's just my opinion... I could be wrong...

Hit me in the comments with your additions to the list....


HR Minion

I would add the ability to see the talent in their employees and the willingness to mentor/coach/encourage their development. Too many supervisors I know are afraid of their own employees doing better than them or taking over their position. That's one of the fastest ways to lose top performers.

Jessica Lee

manager, oh manager, you can make me fall in love with you when you bring me into the fold and talk about someone's development needs early on. performance problem? let's figure out their strengths and also brainstorm some ways to balance out those weaknesses, together.

but if you do bring me in at the end, and if you'd rather deal with the situation all on your own, and this is me being totally realistic that not all situations work out and sometimes we have to break up, i love me a manager who understands paper trails. at minimum, you're jotting down for me when you have "one of those" conversations with your team members.


Minion - Good add...

JLee - a manager who can recognize strengths? Good add, if we could only build roles in organizations around strengths rather than the traditional way.....

Chris Young - Rainman

I would add the intense desire to "play fair". I realize this is a "slippery" term - play fair. I have seen so many situations where it was clear that the manager was playing favorites. The problem is the manager knows it but does not think anyone else knows it. Yet everyone always knows who the "favorites" are.

Playing favorites creates HR headaches because a good HR person ends up being the "sounding board" to why a manager favors one person over another. It always starts with... "It's not fair!"

Meg Bear

I think your post could also be titled "how not to suck at management". I respectfully suggest that the traits that might make an HR person "love me", also just plain make me an effective manager.

Dan McCarthy

Kris –

Nice list! I’ve actually worked with a few of these – and learned a lot!

My add:

You know how to leverage me and my team as your HR partner. You seek me for out for advice – all kinds of advice, especially business issues you’re wrestling with (not just how to hire or fire someone). You ask me for my opinion before you make a decision, not when it’s time to come in and clean up the mess. I’m a regular member of your leadership team and am invited to all meetings and conference calls. You regularly ask me for feedback, and consider me to be trusted development coach.

And please.... no hugging.

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