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HR Management: Finding the Balance Between Regulations and People

Date: 12/17/2019

 Being an HR manager requires you to walk the fine line between absolute compliance with regulations and being an understanding, flexible human being. Human situations can vary in many ways. There are accidents, gray areas and unavoidable circumstances. Friendships, antipathy, conflict and romance all happen unbidden and everyone handles this differently. On the other hand, the rules are the rules. Employee law from the government is absolute and company rules can be bent or changed only with extreme caution. It is a balancing act that some do naturally but everyone should do carefully.

Human Resources - Binding Business and Humanity

The term “Human Resources” is a paradox. The title says clearly that you are expected to treat people like assets that are worth a certain amount of money and investment, though those assets are human beings worthy of respect and freedom. The business world is aware of the paradox and HR managers should be precise enough to track the regulations and conform to them while treating each experience as unique. Sometimes the best option is to help someone navigate the rules to avoid punishment for an unfortunate situation and others, the right thing is to discipline and force someone to face the consequences of their actions. Determining the difference in these situations is what makes a great HR manager.

Bridging the Gap

The problem is that business is absolute. Money, inventory and venues do not have feelings and can be handled however the numbers say will be most profitable. It is different with people and the factors that control them are softer than deciding how to spend a budget. Accounting allows you to abruptly move money from one account to another, while attempting to move people effects lives and families. Even the simplest HR decision such as whether or not to allow desk personalization has concerns that influence the answer.

Denying personalization is bad for morale but there could be unforeseen health problems with more outside items brought in from homes and desks become harder to clean. What if the items are offensive to someone? What if they are valuable and lost or damaged? If you do allow personal decor, would it be better to have one or two blanket rules or allow flexibility but with limitations? The job of HR is to bridge the gap between humanity and practicality in a way that improves the company and is beneficial to the participants.

The Parent Analogy

For younger employees, HR can often take on traditional parental roles. HR is there at the beginning of every new career and hiring experience, offering training and guidance on how to become a contributing employee in the company. After the new hires graduate from onboarding, HR is only involved in the unique places where home life and work life overlap and in moments of need. Most employees do not interact with HR unless they are planning a vacation, have trouble at home, are seeking further education, or have witnessed something that needs to be reported. Similar to a parent, proposing guidance can help employees find appropriate solutions to situations.

Finding the Balance

While walking this tight rope between regulations and people is an incredible feat, some people take to it naturally. Keeping up with regulations and finding flexible solutions inside the makes life easier for employees. When people are able to take vacations, care for sick children or improve their status because of HR, everyone benefits.  Learn more