Is it Human Resources responsibility to hold your employees accountable? That’s a good question because it depends on the circumstances as well as the situation. For example, should HR be responsible for an employee correctly completing new hire paperwork? Probably. What about tax forms, vacation requests, insurance data, and payroll check deposit information? Offhand, I’d say yes. But what about properly clocking in and out, arriving to work on time, and following procedures? In those cases, Human Resources should be available to help as needed, but HR shouldn’t be the first in line to hold employees accountable for these infractions.

Whose Job is it?

HR’s Job isn’t to manage your team. That’s the department heads and team leader’s responsibility, but too often managers lean too far on Human Resources to complete what should be management actions. Don’t get me wrong, HR should always be there to help. If the manager feels they need a witness, HR can help. If it’s a repeat violation, HR can offer their assistance. When an employee has broken a handbook policy HR might be able to assist in explaining the what, how, and why of the policy. Violations of harassment, prejudice, or theft might require HR’s help and guidance. But, HR isn’t here to manage for the managers. Holding direct reports accountable is the manager’s job, not HR’s. Is it Human Resources responsibility to hold your employees accountable?

Handle it don’t Pass it off

It’s easy for department managers to push off holding people on their team accountable, and it’s easy for Human Resources to become accommodating and do it for the managers, but both lead to bigger problems.

When a manager doesn’t hold her or his people accountable the manager losses authority. If the manager doesn’t have the final say so, then who’s truly managing the team? If write-ups, corrective action, and disciplinary actions are all completed by HR then the HR personnel in effect become the managers. The department manager loses control, involvement, and respect.

When the HR staff is too accommodating and takes over accountability they might not know and understand the personnel, procedures, or departmental culture well enough to make the best decision for all.

And there’s another problem that eventually will loom larger. If HR is spending their time holding employees accountable for tasks that the department manager should be doing, then what is HR not getting to? What are they not doing?

So, Is It Human Resources Responsibility to Hold Your Employees Accountable?

Is it Human Resources responsibility to hold your employees accountable? HR should be ready and willing to help, but they’re not there to do the manager’s job. Human resources can help by sitting with the department manager during corrective actions, reviewing policies, and offering their knowledge of laws, compliance, and best practices. If you’re a manager, you need to understand that it’s not HR’s job to hold your people accountable, that’s your job. And if you want to hold your peoples respect it’s a job you should want to do.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash