I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the fine, sometimes blurry, line between maintaining confidentiality and being a decent, genuine, HONEST, person in the world of human resources. I’m not talking about not sharing personal information such as health issues, employee relations matters or pay (although a very strong argument can certainly be made for pay transparency.) I’m talking about not being at liberty to speak on something that will impact an employee because it would be frowned upon from a business perspective even though from a human perspective it would be the right thing to do. In other words, if it was me, I would want to know. Wait. It IS me. I’m an employee too!
Is it just me or do other HR professionals struggle with this as well?
A while ago I saw the tweet below and honestly, I was offended by it.
The premise being that HR should be outsourced because internal HR lets emotion get in the way. So…emotion is inherently wrong and/or HR consultants should be automatons with no feelings? I’ve been both and while I can understand why internal HR may be somewhat more invested because actions and policies affect them as well, if you’re a consultant that has no feelings, or doesn’t ever let emotion or empathy enter the picture, I wouldn’t want to work with you.
How do you/we/I balance humanity and transparency with maintaining confidentiality regarding business matters while still feeling like we’re doing the right thing not only as HR professionals but as human beings? I’d like to think I do a pretty good job of obtaining and maintaining that balance, but I’d be lying if I said some scenarios don’t weigh heavy on my heart at times. It’s important to me to be good at my job; but it’s even more important to me to be a good person. I believe part of bringing humanity into the workplace is treating people how you would want to be treated which translates to how and when you communicate with them as well as what you communicate about. After all, ‘do unto others…’ IS the golden rule. Maybe it should be the ONLY rule.