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Avoid making friends at work?

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HC Online | 29 Jul 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
It can be difficult for HR professionals to tread the fine line between collegiality and professionalism. Here are some tips to mitigate the risks.
  • Russell | 29 Jul 2013, 01:32 PM Agree 0
    This is extremely true and I cannot agree more with this statement. Colleagues can also try to take advantage and expect you to divulge confidential information to them or not reprimand them when needed because they see you as their friend rather than the HR Professional. The balance between looking after Company interests and also looking out for the employee to be treated fair and just is not always black and white and having close friendships complicates matters even further. Let's be honest - those Friday after work drinks can be a minefield and I have always tried to rather stay away or just have one quick one and then go home.
  • kevin | 29 Jul 2013, 03:57 PM Agree 0
    Trust is a critical element in working relationships and when people trust their HR people they trust the business.
    Next we will be hiding from our own shadows.
  • MNK | 29 Jul 2013, 07:14 PM Agree 0
    In HR I have learnt then you must decrease the friendship aspect and focus more on the work/professional side of things. Rather seek to have friendships outside of work. Its unlike two colleagues who are friends where one is in marketing and the other is in finance, these two jobs do not directly affect each other as employees. Whereas HR is usually direct to all employees from the different functions. I have heard this before, "how could he say he is my friend when he gives me or allows this low rating, he knows my financial situation and how I needed this bonus". And chances are this particular employees will spend the next couple of months yapping about this 'back stabbing' that they suddenly feel rather than focus on the fact that they have to find ways to fix their performance problem. There are other examples bt i believe its best to minimize the friendships.
  • James P | 29 Jul 2013, 07:32 PM Agree 0
    If HR are the support function it shouldnt matter! Managers do disciplinary, performance management and terminations not HR, we are here to ensure they do it properly and mitigate risk where it is appropriate to do so. HR should jot be the conscience of the organisation I think this is a very old fashipned view!
  • Judy | 30 Jul 2013, 04:40 PM Agree 0
    Tough call. No person is an island and while the CEO role can be lonely as hell, the reality of the HR role is even worse if you try to do it all on your own. It is a balancing act and it is about choosing your friends wisely. I can count on one hand the number of work friends I have (as opposed to acquaintances). I still have a work drink with work colleagues - part of them trusting me is getting to know me as a 3-dimensional person not a cardboard cut out. That said, I choose where and when I go and with whom.
  • Donald | 06 Aug 2013, 04:37 PM Agree 0
    Completely agree with Kevin and James.

    Also, friendship is not a dichotomous term, what you're talking about is relationships and their degrees, which is fundamental to good HR practice. Terming these relationships "friendships" gives it a negative connotation.

    What we need is professional, integrous behaviour demonstrated by HR business partners to facilitate the managers making the best decisions for business outcomes (as James rightly points out).

    Focus on poor behaviour, don't discourage HR people from forming relationships, that's half our problem to begin with!
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