HR is customer service.

Human resources has come a long way since it’s early days.  Think “personnel,” when all HR did was handle disciplinary actions, hire, fire and maybe payroll.  Today, HR can wear many hats.  HR handles administrative tasks, payroll, benefits, employee relations, recruiting, and retention.  In some cases, HR also handles IT, risk management, ordering office supplies, and anything that doesn’t fit under another department’s umbrella.

Once upon a time, I joked about getting a ticket system outside my door … now serving number 42.

Employees and executives alike line up outside the door.  They flood HR with emails, phone calls, voicemail messages and texts. Why?  Because HR is the internal customer service for the company. HR takes the tone from leadership and passes it on down the line. HR touches every department — reaches every employee. HR is the gatekeeper. HR is the advocate. What that all boils down to is — taking care of the company.

Whether human resources is a department of one or a full team of people, it is their job to serve the company. 

Is the CEO very “old school” and slightly discriminatory (even if she doesn’t mean to be)?  Call HR. Rolling out a new software companywide?  Call HR.  The receptionist is late for the 4th day in a row?  HR. The state legislature just passed four new laws and policy changes need to be made, as well as communicated to every person in a company with 683 employees?  Yep, that’s right.  Call HR.

HR has a duty and obligation to walk between fires and serve all who enter. That sounds a little severe. The simpler explanation is really that HR provides customer service to the company.

Every experience should be, if not always pleasant, efficient, and sensible. HR wants employees to enjoy their experience at the company, just like a shopper at Target. Instead of sale items and clean aisles, the company provides decent wages and an enjoyable work environment. HR keeps the company safe and efficient, and employees are then happy customers. Happy customers (employees) then speak well of their work experience and they become brand ambassadors for the company, which helps with recruiting.  Retention will take care of itself in a positive work environment.

Once we understand that HR provides customer service to the company, it becomes easy to find ways to serve employees.  Ask yourself some questions:

  1. What can we do to improve processes for our teams? 
  2. How can we ensure that everyone is working to their talents?
  3. Are company benefits up to speed with other similar companies?
  4. Are the wages paid on an equal playing field?

HR professionals should do something every day to ensure that the highest level of internal customer service is provided. Ask the right questions, get the answers that make sense, and spread that information to everyone.

A true leader serves those they aim to inspire. Be that leader in HR and watch your company soar!