Human resources—whether it is a single person or a department—all have the same duties and responsibilities.
Human resources protect the company against things like unsafe working conditions, turnover, lawsuits, employee morale, or paying employees too much.
As an employee of the company, if you have issues, objections or complaints, it is natural to want to bring it to the attention of Human Resources right away.
However, you might want give it some thought first.
After careful consideration, and you still decide to bring the matter to your human resources person (or people), remember four things you should never share with HR:
Things You Would Not Share With Your Direct Supervisor
Human resources may be there to help deal with your employer or immediate supervisor, but the opposite is also true. The role of human resources is also to help your employer deal with you. Do not expect privacy.
Sometimes, human resources are in a difficult situation. They balance between employees and employers, and it is their job to act on significant issues when they learn about them, regardless of whether you want them to act or not. HR can help you solve problems, but they should not take the place of your BFF.
Medical or Financial Issues
The main task of human resources is keeping you well-functioning—at work. Your home life is none of their concern. Things ongoing or past physical, psychological and medical conditions or financial issues like property foreclosure.
If aspects of your personal life seem tenuous, that will reflect badly on you.
Job-related problems or issues that require a conversation with your company can be valid reasons to talk with HR, but even in those cases you should extremely careful about what you say.
Your Personal Online Profile
It is becoming more common for human resources to check out online profiles; even if it is to make sure you are not putting down the company, acting inappropriately or casting your organization in a bad light.
You may have heard it repeatedly, but it always bears repeating. Never post anything inappropriate or offensive—photos, wall posts, updates, videos or other content—on social networks like Facebook.
Even with strict privacy settings, you never know who is looking at you online.
How Much You Enjoyed Your Parental (or Other) Leave of Absence
If you received maternity, paternity or any other leave of absence, you should let human resources know your appreciation. Emphasize that you have assimilated back into the job, and how happy you are to be back. The same is true when discussing past leave in job interviews.
Dwelling on why you took leave (parental leave of absence or any other) is certainly not pertinent. Especially in an interview, where you should always stay on topic about your current skills and experience.
If you have a problem in the workplace, take whatever steps you can on your own. Work it out with coworkers, management or your immediate supervisor. If you do, document everything, so if you do need to go to HR, you will have a record of your efforts to resolve the issue.
What else would you never share with human resources? Let us know in the comments!