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Should HR avoid making friends at work?

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HC Online | 02 Dec 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
For HR professionals, making friends at work can be fraught with complexity, which is why it might be prudent to avoid happy hours after work and play it safe by keeping to yourself.
  • Kirsten | 07 Nov 2012, 02:15 PM Agree 0
    I don't agree that making friends at work is "fraught with complexity" for HR professionals. The statement that "Clearly it’s harder for HR to discipline staff if they are friends" is irrelevant for HR professionals who work as true business partners. Our role is not to "discipline" staff ourselves, it is to provide advice and guidance to managers on how THEY can effectively approach and manage poor performance in their team members. I have assisted in many disciplinary meetings where, because I was friendly with the employee, it helped the process run smoothly as the employee trusted me and knew I would ensure they were treated fairly.
  • Debbie | 08 Nov 2012, 08:54 AM Agree 0
    I disagree with this too. Our previous HR Manager did not socialise with staff (in or out of hours) and was seen as unapproachable to the point that managers and staff stopped asking her for assistance or support. I am now in this role and due to my friendship with staff they are confident that I will hear them out and use my discretion when necessary without any expectation of favouritism.
  • Ann | 08 Nov 2012, 03:17 PM Agree 0
    I have been in both situations. It depends on the organisatisn and the individuals. I have hired and fired family members and my closest friend is someone i met "on the job" in my first HR role.I have also been accused of an affair and favoritism.
    I wont stop beng friends and socialising with people i work with, but i am definately careful about which events and with which people.
    At the end of the day, it (should) all come down to your own intergrity and abilities to manage within the role you are hired to do
  • Mark | 08 Nov 2012, 03:24 PM Agree 0
    Of the same opinion, I think one must be conscious that a fine line does exist, but the ability to build trust and buy-in by being “friendly” will help you in leaps and bounds. I have benefited greatly from forging solid relationships with my employee group, that has helped drive a great deal of performance improvement by working with managers to ensure they do it right. Thus by default when employees learn I am involved or supporting the process they are more inclined to play ball. The fine line is up to the individual and their working style to define.
  • Megan | 08 Nov 2012, 09:31 PM Agree 0
    I also disagree with this to a point. As a HR professional in past roles by attending work social functions and after work drinks it has given employees the sense that HR is part of the 'team' and encouraged them to approach HR if they have any issues or questions. Additionally many employees feel more at ease in social work situations as such are often more likely to approach HR staff at these social functions rather than in the workplace.
    Having said this, as a HR professional it is important to maintain professionalism at social work functions to maintain integrity through being aware of the risks as outlined in this article.
  • Anonymous123 | 03 Dec 2013, 09:37 AM Agree 0
    I unfortunately am the only HR person at my company so I cannot avoid becoming friends with colleagues. I've been told by many employees that I am approachable and friendly and because of that employees trust me. I always tell them I assume you're talking to me as a friend first (unless there's never been any friendly conversation before) because they feel less pressure when talking to me.
  • Paul | 31 Dec 2013, 11:44 AM Agree 0
    I was a relieving Manager in a HR office and I also disagree you shouldn't forge friendships. Some of my best friends are people I work with and I think it has a positive impact on morale and increasing performance. It does definitely depend on the people involved and the overall work environment. I think consistency in your management of staff is the key and yes it can be tougher for the HR person to correct behaviours with their friends but if you can separate the work from the personal it is a wonderful thing to work right alongside your friends.
  • Shalini | 17 Mar 2016, 09:24 PM Agree 0
    For an HR it is much essential to maintain professionalism and think from management side. From my personal experience I've learned to always draw a line between employees and HR, Friendly relationship is personal apart. For having very friendly move with my employees who are of same age group, I was asked to quit the company. So, an HR can think for the welfare of the employees and shouldn't make them to take advantage on us.
  • Timmy Z-tones | 09 Jan 2017, 02:05 AM Agree 0
    It is unfortunate, but I have noticed that often the more 'interesting' characters at work forge friendships with those in HR. I have a tremendous amount of respect for our HR team, but feel they are being unfairly undermined by such relationships. HR are not aware of this, and no-one is going to say 'your best friend is actually a disciplinary nightmare'.
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