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Human Resources/H.R confidentiality

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Question
I was wondering if making a call to a human resources department should be confidential.  I called and emailed my human resource department to ask a question.  I never received a call nor email, however, my supervisor had known that I contacted human resources.  Is this kind of odd? I was hired 6 years ago as an independent contractor part time merchandiser.  Now we are considered employees of the company, but no one can seem to tell me how or when this happened.  Shouldn't I have been notified of this?  I know that laws and rules are different between the two.  When I called the HR department to ask the question, they never got back to me, but my Area Supervisor knew of my call to HR.

Answer
Hi Linda,
Thanks for your question.

HR should be a source for you to speak to confidentially.  If after the discussion HR thinks you should talk with you supervisor first, it should recommend that and that should usually be the first contact for discussion, the employee and the immediate supervisor.

In any case HR should have responded to you, in my opinion, before contacting the supervisor.
With respect to your employment status, if that changed, in your example from contractor to employee, there should have certainly been some meetings and other forms of communications to explain the change.

This sounds like a great opportunity for HR to do a professional job of employee communications and management guidance as well as providing some leadership if in fact a change in employment status occurred.  Sounds like a lost opportunity to me.

I would follow-up directly with your supervisor.

I hope that helps.
Best of luck,
Mark

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Mark Eichinger

Expertise

Any type of question related to domestic and international Human Resources work. My H.R. passions include Compensation design and systems in competitive markets, Health and Safety in Industrial Environments, Performance Management, Talent Management (Hiring, Selection, Employee Development, Compensation, Creating Space, etc.), Communications, Coaching, Counseling, Leadership, and Management. Questions I cannot answer: I am sure there are questions within these categories that I may not be able to answer but my experience below would suggest those would be few.

Experience

I own International Human Resources Coaching and Consulting, LLC. www.IHRCConline.com. Previously, I successfully held corporate executive and management leadership positions from 1979 to 2007 in two $9B+ multi-national corporations. Positions included: Vice President, Human Resources for the Asia Pacific Region, Eaton Corporation; I was based in Shanghai, China. Prior to that assignment, Vice President, Human Resources International and Operations, Eaton World Headquarters, Cleveland, Ohio with global responsibility for Eaton’s Human Resources practices, international assignee management, and Regional Human Resources Directors in Asia Pacific, Europe, and Central and South America. Specifically, my experience spans work at domestic and international locations at the operating plant, division, business unit, and corporate levels and most business scenarios to include startups, closedowns, restructurings, integrations, and ongoing operations. I am an Eaton Business Excellence Assessment Examiner (Malcolm Baldrige based system). I introduced processes and process mapping into the Human Resources environment. I have extensive experience with and working in domestic and international organization matrix structures. In the Asia Pacific region, my responsibilities included, leading the regions H.R. team and processes, managing the H.R. relationship with the corporation, creating and leading the professional and general manager development programs, China’s university relations program and managing the Asia Pacific key leader’s process. I have coached managers and leaders. I am a professional listener, my style open, direct, and focused on leader accountability and employee engagement. In Summary, my career responsibility included more than 60,000 employees, 60 union and union free operations, and 45 countries. I also lived in Korea for two years while in service with the USA’s armed forces.

Organizations
SCORE – Counselors to Americas Small Business; at various locations I have also belonged to Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis and the Chamber of Commerce. I have served on Boards of medical, community and institutional organizations.

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Youngstown State University. MBA work Youngstown State University, and University of Bridgeport. University of Tennessee, Lean Manufacturing Certified. Thunderbird School of Global Management, Management Certified.

Awards and Honors
Corporate level awards for compensation systems, communications campaigns.

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