My personal experience with HR is…..yeah, some live the letter of the rules (you MUST stop to take that 30 minute lunch, even if it means you get back late…don’t you even lift a finger to work without being on the clock, etc), some support the company, covering liabilities, diversity training, etc….while there may be some individuals that are ‘in it for the little guy’….aka employees on a personal level, my personal experience tells me that HR is not the employee’s friend. They’re not there to advocate for or intervene.
In the situation that I know about, HR can know something questionable is going on, but they choose not to act unless a report is made that forces them to intervene. In other words, they can know of a manager behaving inappropriately but they can just ‘ignore’ it until an employees steps forward and officially files a complaint. There is no proactive (unless it protects the company) just reactive.
IMHO, they’re only going to speak up if they have to. As in they can be held accountable for NOT speaking up. (they’ll be proactive if they see sexual harassment or stealing, but they can witness bullying or verbal abuse and just turn and walk the other way)
From an employee POV, HR is a great resource, but they’re not your friend. As an employee don’t depend on them to watch your back, because far too many of them won’t take any steps that they’re not ‘forced’ to take. Their ‘watching of your back’ goes as far as enforcing the rules that get them into trouble if they’re not enforced. (ANd when you get down to it, they’re not doing it for you, they’re doing it to keep the company out of trouble.) They can know something is wrong, but until someone files that form to officially file a complaint, they’ll just ignore it and wait for it to become official.
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