Are you the type of HR person that hangs out with employees at Happy Hour? Or do you sit at the not-official but official HR table (You know the one, it’s not an official HR table but everyone from HR sits there and no other employees venture near it)?
“Innie’s” or the typical insider, know everything about everyone. These are the people who don’t look surprised when the latest employee relations (ER) issue blows up because they were already tipped off about it by someone else (fellow HR person, trusted employee, etc;).
“Outtie’s” or the outsider, don’t tend to hear about an issue until it’s completely blown up. But once it has blown up they are typically, excellent, diligent investigators…if they could get anyone to actually talk to them that is.
Inniee vs. Outtie…sometimes a contentious issue among HR pros. Starting out in my career I was told, that I shouldn’t be too friendly with anyone outside of HR because it could be a conflict of interest. Throughout my career though, I’ve been able to find out how the company actually works because I was able to connect with people on a personal level.
Let’s face it: getting to know people on a personal basis can get difficult. Sometimes we learn more then we want to know… On the flip side if we remain at arm’s length we won’t be faced with any murky situations where we have to make a judgment call but we may miss out on opportunities to connect with the people in our organizations.
Bottom line? I’m not here to tell you who you can and cannot be friends with at work. I’m not here to tell you not to go to Happy Hour. I am going to tell you that the HR professionals who do this best have an amazing sense of judgment and discretion that is developed over time. That’s good news; it’s something we can work on. It’s something I work on every day. You may worry about being too much of an innie but maybe being considered an outtie is even worse?
What do you think? Leave a comment below!