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How should I handle it when HR is just one of my ‘other duties as assigned’?

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in Human Resources,The HR Specialist Forum

I wear a lot of hats in our small company. I’m the office manager, handle much of the day-to-day bookkeeping and serve as the owner’s main admin person. I also take care of HR matters, and this has me concerned because my boss doesn’t value that role very much. HR must often take a back seat to whatever else he thinks is important. I’m really afraid we’ll get burned one day because something fell through the cracks. Is anyone else in that position? Any advice on how I can get him to take HR seriously?—Chris in Florida


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth November 3, 2010 at 11:43 am

I think what people sometimes don’t understand is that in these situations, the company often doesn’t have an attorney, because the company has never chosen one, because they haven’t needed one. And explaining to some of these (stubborn) business owners the potential cost of doing things wrong versus the benefit to the company just makes them go on the defensive about how much they are friends with their employees, and friends would never do that. Or, that’s ok, because they have talked to their employees, and the employees are happy with things the way they are.

I was in one of these situations, and was the bookeeper/administration/hr/benefits/whatever else the owners felt like throwing my way. We had around 15 employees. It took me months to convince them that my office door needed a lock on it since there were employee files and payroll and other confidential stuff inside. Once they were finally convinced, it took $5 and 10 minutes to fix that problem.
The trouble is, sometimes it is not possible to convince the owners that something needs to be done or changed. My advice is to keep trying, and keep pushing, and if it gets to the point where you feel you could be personally liable or something crosses your moral guidelines, it is time to move on. That’s what I did, and I couldn’t be happier.

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Joan November 3, 2010 at 11:33 am

I would try to get help explaining this from your attorney, who probably has a good idea just how expensive the risk of a lawsuit could be.

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Vickey November 2, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Hi Chris: Explain the end results as a cost item to the company, the explain it as a benefit to the company. This is how you sell to a company.

Good Luck
Vickey

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Danie November 2, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I’m in the same boat, Chris. I would love to know the answer, too.

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Kathy November 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I have the same situation, when I asked to order the HR Specialist Employment Law Newsletter, he said that it was more for a larger company, but to order it if I felt it would help. We are a small company with three offices and HR is becoming a bigger part of my job now that it was previously. Small business owners don’t believe the laws apply to them because they are small and no one is going to audit them, but I too can not seem to get them to understand that these are real issue for any company not just the bigger ones. Any advice or examples of other small business that did have issues would be appreciated.

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