... Help is on the way!
In this very long series of articles (more yet to come), one thing is certain - companies have sooo many moving parts, with one department after another of hard-working, dedicated employees all trying to make it work. What has also become clear is that working in a vacuum, with little awareness of others, isn't a recipe for the best cake in town. To add to the other ingredients (pardon the cake metaphor - it's double chocolate, by the way!), we now add the Human Resources and Legal departments.
HR is one of those departments that leaves people with real mixed feelings about it (some people have been known to say a prayer when walking past their door). But this is an important dept. that has such a broad range of responsibilities - they don't just walk you out the front door for the last time and check to see if you've taken a company stapler with you. In fact, escorting someone out after being "terminated" does not make their day! They are busy with so much else. They oversee job applicants and their interviews, both external and internal (another good reason to smile at them), they are involved in recruitment with an eye to developing successful growth for the future. They are your one stop shopping for all things employee related like benefits and compensation, acting as the liaison between staff and management, job performance (oh,oh), and compliance regarding company policy and governmental laws. Whew! That was a mouthful, wasn't it? Each one of these areas is significant in and of itself and you can see that the "Human" part of Human Resources clearly has a close connection to all employees. Particularly important is ensuring that the right people are doing this job - having superb people skills is pretty well mandatory to helping create a positive working environment and, dare we say it, even encouraging excellent work performance by all employees. Let's be honest here - if you get a bad performance review (anything is possible, right?), you don't need to feel worse than you already do; you need constructive comments that motivate you to do better (not have you muttering nasty things under your breath!). For sure, though, it is not easy working in HR. The only thing more trying might be working in Legal because no one trusts those guys at all!
Ok, that was an exaggeration although it was William Shakespeare who said, "Kill all the lawyers" and he was a very smart man! No, no, no! We value the Legal dept. and understand that they are very smart and very good with words (maybe too good). Now, again depending on the size of the company, Legal might actually be a dept. unto itself and maybe even have quite snazzy offices in your building, maybe it might just be rolled into the HR dept. or actually not really have any affiliation with the company beyond being accessible via speed dial. Regardless, a company needs to have at least one legal eagle, it really does. In most cases, the Legal dept. will be concerned more with giving advice and litigating on behalf of the company when it has a serious problem with a client. If it is a large company, it might be involved in acquisitions as well. Probably less frequently, although still possible, there might be legal issues involving an employee or group of them. No matter what, a company needs to make sure it is doing everything above board and the company lawyer sees to that. Quite possibly, you. If her not even be aware of who,the lawyer is... don't be looking over your shoulder now!
So, yet again, it becomes clear that it takes a team to get the job done, to fire on all cylinders. And so what is the lesson learned so far? Everyone in a company has an important part to play and no single department is an island (with apologies to John Donne here).Take an interest in what goes on in the rest of the company, learn something new, and increase your job satisfaction.