Why does the mention of HR generate such a Negative Reaction?

Any brief reference to HR in pub discussion will always draw a groan …..generally not as loud as if you mention Brexit or tax bills but certainly louder than any conversation about last night’s TV or the weather.

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So why is this?

…one answer could be that pubs are really filled on one side by employers who are recovering from numerous bad recruitment decisions and belligerent staff members.

Across the other side of the bar the clientele is composed entirely by people who genuinely work for the worst employer on the planet and a supervisor who has the people skills of an recently ex high profile premiership football club boss ( probably safest not to mention name or club!!)……. but statistically this is highly unlikely!!

Personally, I think the answer lies in bad press, uncertainty, urban myths and way too many armchair HR experts who have never had any real experience of dealing with a difficult employment situation and are not good at a reasoned, ‘lets look at it from both sides’ analysis.

I have been both employer and employee and am delighted to say that on numerous occasions I have enjoyed the protection that good HR affords, whichever hat I happen to be wearing.

Having detailed guidelines and basic rules around which people are expected to work is surely good for all sides. Knowing when you start and finish, what you can and can’t use the works van for, how to let people know if you are not able to work and when, how much and for what you are getting paid are essential, surely.

Having a fair set of rules, that colleagues, managers and company owners all know about in advance and all have to abide by is a comfort factor. Knowing that there are in place government policies that prevent exploitation, discrimination and unfair practices surely helps most people sleep more easily.

Unless a pre-determined line is crossed, I cannot, without due warning and process, take away someone’s livelihood. Any more than one of my team can announce that they no longer want to do the job they were hired to do but still want to remain on the payroll.

The HR world is way more complex today than it was when I started out.

Policies and procedures today have to be more comprehensive and reflect the world we live in. I don’t want colleagues sharing commercially sensitive information on social media any more than they want to learn that I have sold up and moved on without offering them any warning or protection for their loyalty and support.

In any company, hard working, motivated staff are an asset and should be rewarded and protected. Underperforming people need to know that they are falling short, have an opportunity to improve or suffer the consequences.

For any fair minded employer and any committed employee, good HR is a great ‘comfort blanket’.

How Can HR Dept support you and your business? 

The team at HR Dept Bedford and Milton Keynes share a long track record in all aspects of HR and are able to ensure that our clients are legally compliant and adhere to employer ‘best practice.

We get as involved as our clients want us to – for some it is the comfort of having someone on the end of the phone to advise and guide them, for others it is knowing that, as we are local, we can be on the premises to actually manage the situation that needs dealing with.

Our client base literally covers a whole gamut of business types – from transport and distribution to high street retail, from nursery schools to IT support and from dentists to plumbing and heating supplies.

They are companies large and small, united by a desire to do things properly and a wish to have the peace of mind that professional HR support ‘on tap’ is able to provide.

Large – is a client employing more than 150 people throughout multiple offices in the UK.

Small, is a two-person operation who wants to put everything in place in advance of bringing someone new on board.

Most of our clients sit somewhere between these two extremes, with the majority employing between 5 and 25 staff.

The trigger points for reaching out and asking for our help, largely fit into two categories:

Business Expansion – it might be the first ‘external hire’, as highlighted above, or it may be the fifth or even tenth employee, but there comes a point for most growing companies when the desire to dot the i’s and cross the t’s when it comes to employment contracts, offer letters, policies and procedures and company handbooks, all of which need to be able to stand legal scrutiny in the event of a claim or a dispute.

…which leads us to the second reason potential clients seek us out…

Difficult Employees – I have lost count of the number of calls that start with “we have a bit of a problem with an employee that we might need your help with” – but rarely said with the calmness that the written word evokes.

From that opening statement the discussion continues following one or more of hundreds of different directions.

Suspected theft, damage to company property, expenses fraud, timekeeping, sickness and stress, poor performance and fighting with colleagues at work are not untypical, while we have received more than enough calls to know that post-Christmas party issues are far from an urban myth.

Every time I think “I’ve heard it all now” the phone will ring in a matter of days or hours and I will realise that indeed I have not!!!!

All of the above are massive disruptions to any business, no matter the scale. And all require careful handling and management, to ensure that a fair outcome is achieved. Like any legal process, it is often not about what is right and wrong, it’s more often about, has the proper process and procedure been followed.

So that is what we do. If any of the above strikes a chord…we are at the end of a phone and able to be with you as and when needed.

Jim Bottoms HR DEPT










Find out more about Jim Bottoms & HR Dept here

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