Illustrate of smiling faces to illustrate how to create a welcoming HR department.

One of the best investments a company can do is create a welcoming HR department. The Human Resources department is the front line of assistance for many vital issues within your company, yet many employees dread a visit to HR. To create a space that makes employees feel comfortable, HR team members need to keep approachability in mind. Here are a few basic tips.

How to create a welcoming HR department

HR teams have to work with a variety of sticky issues, and tensions often run high. Good HR professionals know how to keep a cool head, project a calm demeanor, and weigh all the factors before making a decision. Strive to keep things calm in the HR office, and you will go a long way toward making team members feel comfortable.

Focus on Communication

HR teams need to be masters at not only delivering information, but also receiving it. The HR department should be a place where employees feel safe enough to express their honest opinions without fear of judgment. From the employee’s perspective, having a conversation with HR should feel like talking things over with a trusted advisor—fair and impartial.

Show Empathy

Empathy is the ability to see and respect someone’s point of view even if you don’t agree. You can demonstrate empathy in a variety of ways, including open body language, summarizing and restating what the employee says, and expressing concern for employees’ complaints. Empathy doesn’t mean you have to give in to demands, but it does mean you should take all concerns seriously.

Practice Discretion

HR departments are privy to a lot of sensitive information, from pay rates to harassment complaints. The ability to keep the things you learn to yourself is an essential requirement for any successful HR professional. Never disclose anything discussed in the HR department with anyone who doesn’t have a compelling need to know.

Hone Your Negotiation Skills

A lot of the day-to-day work in an HR department revolves around resolving disputes. A skilled negotiator knows how to find solutions in which both parties get something they want, but neither side gets everything. You’ll need strong problem-solving skills and an innate sense of fairness to be a top negotiator, but being known for your ability to settle disputes can make employees much more comfortable coming to you with problems.

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