Advertising

10 Things You Should Know About HR That They’ll Never Admit

10 Things You Should Know About HR That They’ll Never Admit
Advertising

The Human Resources (HR) department is ubiquitous to all companies. It is uniquely positioned, to interact face-to-face with everyone who works in the company. Here are things to keep in mind about HR that they’ll never admit openly.

1. Tough Empathy

An employee who approaches HR with his or her problem, is met with a “friendly-face.” HR staff are trained to provide a sympathetic ear to employee problems. But when resolving problems, HR will follow company policies. Due to policies which are structured behind closed doors, problems get suppressed under bureaucracy, and resolutions may never see the light of day. Tough empathy frustrates the employee and HR staff in equal measure.

Advertising

2. Risk Aversion

In most companies, HR are not people who are independent thinkers or who stand up as a moral compass, nor is HR the top choice for smart and ambitious graduates out of college. Moreover, executives who move to HR are usually corporate exiles – people who fared poorly in meatier roles. As a result, people manning the HR department are averse to risk, and prefer taking the safer approach to any problem. This does not always augur well for the employee, as the HR steadfastly stands behind the best interests of the organization, instead of standing up for the rights of the employee.

3. Customer Satisfaction

Performance appraisals from HR staff is linked to the satisfaction of the managers. As an employee, if you have concerns or issues regarding management, this implicit bias comes in the way. Just as you never bite the hand that feeds you, similarly, HR hesitates to confront the managers on issues raised by employees.

Advertising

4. Equal Treatment

HR professionals are required to retain the top talent within an organization. These “top performers,” get preferential treatment by the HR department. HR focuses specifically to cultivate and challenge employees who make a difference in the workplace. It is futile to fight against such preferential treatment. But the unfairness can be leveraged in your favor provided you are considered valuable by the HR department.

5. Workplace Mediation

Dispute resolution in the workplace is an important HR function. When going into a mediation, know that the burden of proof lies with the accuser. If the accusations are not backed by sufficient evidence, the mediations quickly turn into talk-fests. Moreover, HR mediates to protect the company’s interest. If your interest is not aligned with the company’s interest, then you should think again before going to HR.

Advertising

6. HR Metrics

HR has details related to the attrition or vacancy rates in the company. But, if someone asks, why is a position not filled, then in defense HR does not have a “time to fill” metric to argue with a non-HR person that its record in filling up positions is above average. Better data fosters increased credibility within an organization. Until companies adopt Big Data approach to analytics, HR will not have the tools necessary to influence non-HR people.

7. Budget Cuts and Recession

The ongoing recession and budget cuts have forced companies to trim down HR departments. These cuts hurt HR departments as much as the other departments. The next time you grudge HR for laying off staff within your team, do spare a thought for HR staff themselves. They are under a tremendous struggle to reinvent themselves and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of delivering services in the context of a shrinking workplace.

Advertising

8. HR Matters!

HR is responsible for annual performance appraisals, as well as employee welfare and management. Their opinion on you, as an employee, does matter. One should have a positive relationship with HR. After all, you do not want HR to overlook you the next time there is a possibility of a promotion, or a pay hike.

9. Beware

Beware of what you discuss and share with HR. The HR department is not obligated to keep your information confidential. These days, HR is part of our digital social networks and news feeds. Be careful of what you share in these places. However, if HR finds any activity that is illegal or against the interest of the company, then they will be forced to take action against you.

Advertising

10. Background Checks and Workplace Monitoring

Routinely, HR runs a detailed background check on employees. Most HR departments have access to online monitoring platforms that dig a lot deeper than you imagine. Once hired, your activities are monitored in the workplace. One need not be paranoid, but HR knows much more about you than you think they do. All of this information can be used against you when it suits the company’s interest.

Featured photo credit: Mathew Dent via flickr.com

More by this author

29 Incredibly Useful Websites You Wish You Knew Earlier 20 Uses for Microwave That Will Surprise You For Sure 7 Tricks To Make You A Spreadsheet Expert 10 Tips to Travel in Crowded Public Transport What Every Introvert Should Do To Live A Great Life

Trending in Work

1 How To Stay Motivated As You Build Your Business 2 15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow 3 23 Tips for New Entrepreneurs to Get Your Business Underway 4 20 All-Time Best Entrepreneur Books to Make Your Business Successful 5 Why Mentoring Matters: A Guide on a Stellar Example for Employees

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
Advertising

During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

Advertising

Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

Advertising

6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

Advertising

Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

Advertising

13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next