Can I Show You My Injury?

As an HR professional, I cannot tell you how many times over the years I heard “Can I show you my injury?” Someone was injured at work or home and the doctor’s note wasn’t quite enough. They wanted to come into my office to SHOW me their stitches, bruises, and cuts to their body. I am in HR, not medicine…and it’s for a reason. My family will tell you I am a bit squeamish. Medical updates on the news are sometimes hard for me to watch, let alone stitches that are right in my face.

But why would someone be compelled to show their HR person their injury? What is the root cause of that behavior? Attention? Maybe. But, that might only cover a few cases. I would argue it boils down to trust and making sure others believe that they really have an excuse for not being at the office.

Inherently, people want to do a good job. But what that looks like varies depending on the organization you work for. For government employees, it might mean being at the office so the taxpayers don’t squawk. And, if you are going to be away from the office, you need to make sure people understand that you weren’t trying to skip out on work. To do that, they want to show you their injury.

Fostering a culture of trust will alleviate this problem and will set your employees free to make the right decisions for the organization. The foundation for a Results-Only Work Environment is trust. Trusting that employees will make the right decisions to move the work forward and reach organizational outcomes. This mindset alleviates the stress employees can sometimes experience when something does go wrong. Stitches sewn up? Results achieved? No awkward conversations with HR about the details of the injury- which is freeing for everyone involved.

Think about your organization. Do employees want to show you their injuries? Or, is trust in place so you can do without the graphic “show and tell” stories in your office?

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Corey McCarren

I could definitely understand how this culture comes about, especially if the employee feels as if anyone thinking they’re skipping out could harm their chances for a promotion or raise. On the other hand, they don’t and shouldn’t owe it to anyone to show them an injury especially if they have a note, and it’s quite possible that the person does not want to see the injury anyway. I worked at one place that I woke up with extreme back pain one day after missing work for a Doctors appointment for something unrelated, but knew that going to a Doctor wouldn’t help me for my back and just cost me money. They fired me. It was seasonal and towards the end of the season anyway, but it still was pretty insulting especially after working hard for a few months and having taken only one other day for another appointment which I had a note for.

Stacey Swanson

Corey- Sounds like you had an awful experience with a former employer. I hope that now you are in a much better place. Thanks for sharing your comments!

Corey McCarren

I’m a Fellow at GovLoop, it’s an awesome place, and I’m not just saying that because I’m on! And strangely I sort of enjoyed that job up until that day.