As a Human Resources Business Partner at a Fortune 100 company, I see and hear a lot.  People confide in me to discuss topics such as career progression, dealing with a difficult co-worker, and personal issues affecting their work performance.  Further, there are people that come to my office to voice their opinion or make a request on topics that are not in my job description to handle. 

Think twice before you ask your HR representative these questions:

 1.  Why is the company blocking my Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail accounts? 

Due to security reasons, and potential viruses to the company network, many organizations prefer to keep the network as private as possible.  Another reason could be attributed to productivity – clicking “like” to your friend’s pictures is not making the company more profitable.  Furthermore, Googling certain keywords can sometimes be blocked.  If you need to check your personal email, social networking account, or get the latest update on last night's football game, your safest bet is to use your personal device.

  2.  I understand new employees get a work cell phone.  I’d like the latest model of the (iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, etc.)

It is wise to take what your employer gives you.  Typically, it is less expensive to have an older model phone.  The same applies to computers.  Whether your team is using a Mac or PC, use what is provided.  Only make requests if your hardware cannot handle the software you are using and your performance is drastically slowed down.  Speak to your manager or admin if you have concerns regarding equipment, including ergonomically correct items such as standing desks and special chairs.

 3.  I’ve been in the same job for 6-months, I’m doing awesome (everyone tells me I’m an ace), and I think I’m deserving of a promotion or at least a salary increase.

Unless you are consistently the #1 salesperson out of a 20-person team, have come up with an automated solution that has saved your company thousands, or invented the next big thing in the medical or technology industry, be patient.  Success doesn’t come overnight.  It takes time to develop your leadership skills, earn credibility, and become the go-to guy or girl on your team.  Ensure your accomplishments are recognized during your mid-year or year-end performance review.  

HR Meeting

 4.  My son’s karate team has made it to the regional championship and I’m seeking company sponsorship to help defray costs of the trip.  Can the company sponsor the team?

No.  Most companies have certain philanthropies, or charitable organizations that they support.  There are so many amazing non-profit organizations; it is impossible to support everyone.  Most companies’ partner with a select few that aligns most closely to their mission.  It’s also not uncommon for a large company with deep pockets to sponsor an industry convention or a sporting event or team for example.  As it pertains to nonprofits, many organizations have a company match program and will match your monetary donations.  Typically there is a minimum such as $25, or $50.     

 5.  I’ve been on the same assignment for 8-months, and while I am learning a lot, I think I would be more valuable on a different team. 

Often times, at a Fortune 100, there is a policy on releasability.  At most major corporations, you must be in your position for at least 12 months and in good performance standing before you are eligible to move on to your next assignment.  It’s important to give yourself time to settle into your new role before you consider jumping ship.  You also don’t want to be perceived as a job hopper.  If I see that someone has changed jobs or companies 5 times in 5 years, I question their team commitment and realize that they won’t be in my organization long-term either.  

 Always think twice before approaching your HR rep.  Often times, an answer to your question can very well be found on your company intranet under corporate policies.  If you do need HR support, ensure your question has been carefully thought out and isn’t a frivolous complaint about the coffee k-cups or wearing sandals in the office.  It's very beneficial to have your HR rep on your side for when you are deserving of that promotion, pay increase, or are strategizing your next career move.

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