You’re right in your assumption that HR knows things. Sometimes HR folks know all of the things. Because they support the business, they are likely to be communicating with all departments, all managers and Senior Leadership and they know what’s up.
While I personally take the position of being as transparent and honest as possible with all of my managers and employees, there are just somethings I’m not going to tell you. Sometimes it’s because I can’t, sometimes it’s because I don’t want to lean into that shitty conversation, sometimes it’s because I don’t like you and sometimes it’s because I’m lazy.
- We won’t tell you if and when you are getting fired. But we do know when the dark mark has been put upon you.
- We won’t tell you if the company has plans to eliminate positions or is planning a downsizing. We may tell you the company has hit some hard times, and tough decisions are being made to turn the ship around. That’s code for reductions in force.
- We won’t tell you that you are the office douche-bag or the office narc and no one likes you. Though sometimes I really want to tell you. So you’ll just stop already.
- We won’t tell you about certain policies of the company because we really don’t want to advertise them. Usually it’s because we know the policy is stupid and we don’t want to answer the hundreds of questions we will get if we remind you. (See: inclement weather policy/office closures and dress code policies)
- We won’t tell you if your manager is monitoring your email. But if you are on a performance improvement plan or had a disciplinary warning, you should be hyper-aware that someone in the company is probably watching your email, network and web activity.
- We aren’t going to necessarily spell our your rights as workers. That’s what labor law posters are for. Read them and ask your HR person sometime about the FMLA or the FLSA . Know your own rights.
- We won’t tell you your manager dislikes you. Though we may want to warn you, we just won’t tell you.
- We won’t tell you your candidate referral bombed his or her interview and the interview team resoundingly gave a thumbs down to hiring him or her. We will simply say that another candidate was more qualified.
- We won’t tell you when your manager is about to be terminated.
- We may not tell you, that you may have the right to review your employee personnel file, depending on your State’s laws and/or company policies. We may not necessarily suggest that you ask your HR team to review your own file periodically (wink, wink).