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Gone are the days when a company’s Human Resources representative was mainly tasked with the “hiring and firing” of employees. In today’s business culture, human resources has morphed into a strategic department that is integral to optimizing a company’s output. 

In other terms, HR now ensures that employees are thriving so that the company can thrive. 

It’s for this very reason that taking advantage of your work’s HR is in your favor. How can this smaller department enhance your work performance and experience you may ask? Consider the multiple ways HR can assist you, outlined below.  

Career Planning 

Having long term goals for your current job isn’t mandatory by any means. However, if you picture yourself staying with your company long-term, meeting with HR can be a very useful tool in establishing a game plan. 

This career-planning conversation would be an optimal time for you to share your past achievements and current goals with the company. Additionally, you can ask for suggestions on how to maximize your strengths and improve on your weaknesses. 

Taking the step to approach your HR about your five-year plan with the company demonstrates initiative. This can increase your chances of leading a project or attaining an internal promotion because you’ve already advocated your interest in assuming more responsibility and have thus placed yourself on the company’s radar. 

Managing Your Manager

In an ideal world, any issues you have with your manager could be solved with a simple conversation. But the reality is that sometimes you will find yourself with a manager whose communication style doesn’t fit with yours. 

When you find yourself unsure of how to address either an isolated or reoccurring issue with your manager, approaching your HR may be your best option. Keep in mind that when approaching your HR about your manager, it is best to not vent or complain about your boss, but to bring up the issue in a factual manner and ask for direction on how to reach a solution. Instead of “Mr. Sheffer is passive-aggressive,” try something more along the lines of “I’m having trouble meeting Mr. Sheffer’s expectations in this department because…” Using statements starting with “I” and remaining factual will help your HR representative understand that the issue is serious and you are not just complaining. 

The Human Resources representative has likely been with the company for some time, witnessed your manager’s interactions with previous employees, and can prescribe an effective course of action for you to take. This could involve moving you to a different team, or mediating a meeting between the two of you to help you understand one another. Depending on the situation, the HR department can even take disciplinary action with your manager.

Personal Problems

While your HR is not your company’s psychiatrist, they are available to equip you with resources to deal with your personal problems. If financial, relationship, or health issues are affecting your overall wellbeing and work performance, it is appropriate to bring up these problems with your HR. 

They may direct you to an Employee Assistance Program or ask you to complete necessary paperwork for your legal protection. You may request for the information to be kept confidential, and if you have disclosed information that cannot be legally kept confidential, your HR will notify you. 

Adjusting Workload

If you find yourself overwhelmed with your workload, your HR can act as a neutral party between you and your manager to adjust project timelines. 

It is important to note, however, that experts do suggest approaching your manager directly for workload adjustment requests. This is because they have the most direct connection to your responsibilities and assignments. Approaching HR should therefore be considered as an option but should not be the first one. 

Give your manager the benefit of the doubt and express your concerns over your assigned amount of work. If after doing so, you see minimal or no resolution, you can then approach your HR for additional support. 


Although Human Resources departments sometimes get a bad rap, they can be a great tool for you to advance in your career and to deal with tense workplace situations. Sometimes an issue just needs a mediator, someone impartial, and HR is there for that purpose. Sometimes an employee simply wants to make their ambitions known and create a five-year plan. HR can help. 

And, of course, HR is there to protect you from people who would take advantage of you. Be sure to get to know your HR people, and they’ll be there to help you.

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

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