Working With HR Clients From Hell? Here Are Two Quick Tips For Dealing With Them…
By Alan Collins | successinhr.Com/hr-clients-from-hell
On a few occasions, I’ve had the delightful privilege of working with the client from hell.
You know the type…
The client that doesn’t think HR can do anything right.
The client you dread getting telephone calls from.
The client, who when his or her name pops up on your phone, you feel like throwing up before answering the call.
The client that you lay awake the night before trying to figure out a way to avoid meeting with the next day.
The client that no matter what you do, no matter what HR heroics you pull off, will find something to beat you up for.
You feelin’ me?
As an HR professional, you’ll work with a lot of clients. Obviously, 95% of them will be terrific and won’t have horns or carry a pitchfork.
Here’s the point: One of the best things you’ll ever do for your HR career is to seek out and work with the Tonys of the world. There are lots of them out there — in all organizations, at all levels — from Warehouse Manager to CEO.
These clients are looking for great HR folks also. They want to partner with those who share and can help them realize their own visions for their organizations.
But make no mistake about it, clients like Tony are very demanding and won’t hesitate to kick you in the butt too…but in the process will also grow you, stretch you, challenge you, inspire you, nurture you and give you tough love along the way. And that’s what you want.
Now, having seen Tony, let’s get back to the original point of this article: What do you do to address clients from hell? Two quick tips.
1. Avoid them in the first place.
When you’re interviewing for that new HR job, interview the company as hard as they are interviewing you. Ask insightful and tough questions to the business leader of the client group you’ll be supporting.
If the business leader or your main client is too busy to meet with you, that’s a big red flag.
And, again, a poor match will make your HR life a living hell. If you don’t know what to look for when interviewing your clients, it’s easy. You want to try and get as close to a Tony as you can.
2. If you’re already in a bad client relationship, start your exit strategy.
You want to pull the plug on this assignment ASAP. Your options: Transfer. Post for a new job. Have a candid discussion with your boss about another client or assignment. Leave the organization. Or offer to job swap with some other unsuspecting HR colleague (hey, just kidding!).
Either way, whatever you do, don’t fall in the trap of trying to fix this person. Research conducted by the Center For Creative Leadership reveals that trying to change your client is a waste of time – especially if they’ve been around awhile and their behavior has been tolerated. So stop wishing he or she will change and put your own needs first.
If your exit from this role is going to take some time, don’t be vindictive. Be patient and bide your time. Continue to give this jerk the same responsive, professional, value-added HR support that you always have. Just because you’re getting crapped on, is no excuse to return the favor.
However, don’t plan to stay in this role long. In volatile times with downsizing still occurring in many organizations, you never can tell how much weight this madman’s perceptions will be given in HR layoff decisions.
Let me be clear: the “personal development,” “character building” and the +5% compensation bribe…er, increase you might get to work with bad clients is overrated. It may sound great at the time, but isn’t worth it. Whatever you gain developmentally is offset by the hit you take to your HR reputation, your personal self-esteem and your mental sanity.
Life’s too short.
Avoid toxic clients at all costs.
You deserve better.
When your co-worker earns more than you
It can come as quite a surprise if you happen to learn that a co-worker whom you thought you held the same rank as is actually earning more than you.
Though a debate is growing around whether companies should make pay information transparent, the status quo is currently to keep individual pay a private matter between the employee and HR. This is why it can come as quite a surprise if you happen to learn that a co-worker whom you thought you held the same rank as is actually earning more than you.
So what are your options besides feeling inadequately compensated? Several HR and pay experts weigh in on how to change your compensation, improve your career path and the steps you should avoid taking.
Don’t turn to your co-workers for information
If your first instinct is to ask your co-worker what qualifies him to earn more, or to ask other co-workers how your pay is determined, stop right there. Deb LaMere, vice president of HR strategy and employee engagement at human capital management services and technology firm Ceridian, says, “Speaking with co-workers about their pay level in relation to your own often results in negative consequences. This type of conversation can lead to resentment and anger, effectively changing relationships for [the] worse between co-workers, project teams and possibly with direct management.&Rdquo;
While transparent pay information would resolve the secrecy issue that can trigger problems at work, it holds true that compensation levels can vary widely for valid reasons. &Ldquo;There are many factors to consider when it comes to evaluating individual pay, especially length and type of experience,” LaMere adds. &Ldquo;Having a salary comparison conversation with a co-worker is not constructive to understanding ones' own pay rate and possibly influencing changes to individual pay and compensation levels.&Rdquo;
Research compensation trends and standards
Instead of turning to your co-workers for information, rely on outside sources and garner as many points of data as possible. &Ldquo;Lots of information is readily available through salary surveys and websites, industry associations, recruiters/headhunters who place candidates in your industry and space and through actively networking with colleagues and developing real meaningful professional relationships… so that delicate topics like salary, bonus and benefits will be discussed openly and shared comfortably,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of “The Wall Street Professional's Survival's Guide.&Rdquo; “You also need to be absolutely clear on what the numbers represent. Are they for equivalent positions and for equivalent performance?”
Prove your worth
Once you have a well-researched idea of the pay level you could and should be on, gather evidence for your boss that echoes those numbers. &Ldquo;One option is to volunteer for and take on visible, challenging initiatives and then manage them successfully,” Cohen says. &Ldquo;That is just half the battle and it is often where the process breaks down. While a project is underway and once it is completed, key stakeholders must be made aware of your significant contributions both during and after...The gift that keeps on giving. It is helpful to have a mentor within the company who can advocate for you and enhance your visibility as well as serve as a sounding board for advice on how to approach your boss.&Rdquo;
Whether you have office backup or you’re presenting on behalf of yourself, it’s important to prove to your boss that a pay raise is deserved because of your merits, not that you’ve simply learned of the pay discrepancy.
Take it to your boss
You’ve done the research and ensured that your request will be backed up by proof of your hard work. So how do you begin this conversation with your boss? Katie Donovan, a salary and career negotiation consultant, equal pay advocate and founder of Equal Pay Negotiations LLC, says, “Start the process of discussing a raise or salary adjustment with your direct manager. I recommend asking for help, not demanding a raise. Say something like, ‘I recently discovered that I am paid below the market value for this job. What can we do to rectify it?’ This makes it a collaborate discussion and gives management the opportunity to come up with a solution, which might be better than you anticipated.&Rdquo;
Heading into the meeting, “bring with you the research you did on pay for the job so you can discuss your research,” Donovan says. &Ldquo;Also, be prepared to highlight your contributions to the company as reasons you deserve to be paid on the high end of the pay range for the job. If you can, compare it to the lesser results of co-workers. Very effective reasons are contributions that saved the company money or generated revenue for the company. Do not expect a solution in this first meeting but do ask for a response in a certain time so this does not drag on forever. Something like ‘Can you get back to me by Friday on this?’”
Negotiating pay is a tough part of advancing in your career, but receiving the compensation that you deserve is well worth the time.
(Picture Source: Internet)
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