Guest Blogger: Secrets from HR

The Good and the Bad of Being a Freelancing ParentIf you work in a large organization, you understand how important the hustle is to keeping your career aspirations on track. Managing your boss is crucial and performing above and beyond are key, but there’s another influencer that you may not be spending enough time with. 

As a Senior HR professional, I’ve seen it all. My colleagues and I see most of what is happening inside the company. We know where the skeletons are buried; who the future stars are; and who is on a short leash and at risk of being cut from the team. Since we know you’re motivated and eager to improve, here are a few tips:

HR is both advocate and enemy

Most HR people get into human resources because they wanted to be advocates for people in companies. Let’s invest in training, they say. Let’s make sure we keep our best and brightest engaged. Let’s put together awesome teams! But the reality is that, especially, as we advance in our careers, we become more and more representatives for “the man.” This means we spend 75% of our time dealing with problem employees, preparing for layoffs and “topgrading” our staff by ensuring our firms eliminate poor performers. Yes, we want you to be successful, but we also have a job to do and we know who signs our paychecks.

HR people are people

Like you, we aren’t perfect. Once you are “in the bubble” of the HR circle, we share stories, we tell tales and we gossip about the goings on inside our organization. Sit around with a group of HR folks at happy hour (without non-HR co-workers around) and you’ll hear us revel in the dirtiest, stupidest and worst examples of behavior we’ve seen. We’re professionals and we don’t break confidentiality outside the trust tree, but inside we have our own rules.

We play favorites

While you think our job is to treat everyone equally, the reality is that we form relationships with our coworkers just like you do. This means that we have friends and we probably have a few people that we just don’t like. We may manage these feelings better than most employees but don’t forget that your manager and your executives are coming to us for advice. And our perspectives are valued by those who are asking. Keep your HR people close and it will likely pay off when a manager has to make a choice between you and another top applicant for that new project or key managerial role.

Don’t piss us off

Managers and staff who buck the system, or who simply refuse to follow our advice, tend to get a bad reputation inside HR. It doesn’t mean that you have to do everything we suggest, but managers who openly see HR as unnecessary or irrelevant are likely to find themselves on the other side of those recommendations come promotion time. (Pro tip, guess who reviews all of the annual merit increases and signs off on your raise with that promotion?)

Realize this isn’t high school

There is nothing that will put you on the wrong side of your HR partner more quickly than constantly being in the center of “the drama.” Great employees rarely have personality conflicts and when they do, they take steps to minimize the impact on others in the organization. If you constantly find yourself in the middle of clashes with others, there’s probably one common thread… YOU. If you don’t fix this, you will be labeled “Doesn’t Play Well with Others.” Guess who gets promoted to Director? Leaders. And leaders absolutely do play will with others.

Following these simple tips may not guarantee your rapid rise to CEO… but it certainly will make the ride up a little easier.