“How Can HR Help?” – Part I

“How Can HR Help?” – Part I

Samantha Badr 


Welcome back, my lovely audience. I decided to switch things up this time around with a new segment called “How Can HR Help?” – because sometimes we just need a little break from all the research and the numbers. This is a place where we can come together as human beings and vent about office culture and how we can make our 9-5’s just a little more bearable. I asked some of you guys across all social media platforms to message me with any workplace-related concerns that you might want some advice on. Well, here it goes…

A little backstory – I received a message from someone about their current workplace practices and their downfalls. After pondering further, I have summed up the situation in the following points:

  • All employees are working from home (WFH)
  • Office staff consists of 16 employees (including the manager)
  • Office Manager hired 2.5 years ago
  • New hires: 4 employees hired within the last year
  • 9/16 employees have worked 10+ years
  • 2/16 employees have worked 4+ years
  • 11/16 employees trained one way, while 4/16 were taught something different
  • Tasks are hard to complete, resulting in employee conflicts

The main takeaway from this scenario is that all employees work differently. How can an office run effectively if all employees are not on the same page? If we think of this office’s job tasks as steps to a ladder – if one step is missed or not stable, then everyone can come crumbling down. At what point do we look at management as the sole perpetrator? For starters, these are just my opinions and if there are genuine concerns with your co-workers and/or manager, it is best to reach out to HR to address any issues you may have.

As for my advice – it’s hard for a manager to step into a new position with 15 new employees. However, it is even harder if you do not find ways to engage with your staff. I was told that this manager did not have a welcome meeting, or any meeting with the whole staff, at all. This left senior staff discouraged and often disappointed with office culture – resulting in tension amongst new and older employees.

Another key issue was the training. It seems that the former manager trained the office staff in one way, and the new manager just hired 4 new employees and taught them the basics. Yes, I’m sure everyone is competent enough to fill their roles, but the lack of communication only makes matters worse. It is not the employee’s job to come to a consensus with their co-workers about how certain tasks should be done.

Sorry “new” manager, but it’s been 2.5 years. It’s time to step up for your staff because they need you! Office culture is based on teamwork and collaborative projects, but this staff wasn’t set up for success. My recommendation is this – WFH already has its challenges, don’t add to them. The pandemic has sparked creative ideas around the world, so it’s never too late to reignite the fire in your staff. Unfortunately, employee burnout will be the result if nothing changes.

The good thing is that your employees still care. People want to do a good job. Start by finding a way to have all staff engage with each other on a personal level, such as “happy hour” on zoom or any other platform. As for training – start somewhere. If it seems too overwhelming to start from scratch, enlist the help of your staff to make some templates in a shared document drive, where everyone can see examples of how certain tasks or documents need to be created. This will go a long way.

My closing thoughts – good luck! Keep voicing your opinion to your manager and you might see some change happen.

Hope this advice helped. Stay tuned for next time.

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