Relationship Building Between HR & Organization Departments

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Building relationships takes work - at home or on the job. In this lesson, you'll learn more about the importance of building relationships between human resources and other organizational departments.

Building Relationships

Think about the various people you encounter throughout a day:

  • Your coffee barista
  • Your child's teacher
  • A doorman in your building
  • Your neighbor
  • Your family members
  • Coworkers and colleagues

Some of these are likely pretty superficial relationships, while others require a great deal of care and proper communication. The same could be said about relationships in the office. Some are more casual (think of the vendors who deliver goods to your workplace) and some require a deeper, more thoughtful partnership. Our lesson today concerns the latter.

Many people have mixed feelings and preconceived ideas about the Human Resources (HR) department and its workers. Some view them as paper pushers, worried about forms and documents for everything from taxes to health insurance. Others consider them the 'police' of an organization - setting and enforcing policies you may like or dislike.

One thing is for sure: in a successful business, the role of the HR department may include paperwork and policies, but it is also people-focused. Building relationships between the HR group and other departments in the organization is a critical component for bringing a business together and maximizing the potential for collaboration and success.

Inter-Department Cooperation

Let's look at an example of a healthy human resources department. At a design and construction firm in South Carolina, members of the human resources and marketing departments work together to help recruit and retain professionals. The reason, according to one worker, is that job seekers' increasing digital savvy has boosted potential employees' ability to learn more about a company before ever walking through the door for an interview. Human resources recognized that branding and marketing was a central component in attracting the right type of employees. This collaboration, or relationship-building between departments, has increased the company's successes. In fact, in a recent 'Workforce Magazine' survey, 70 percent of human resources leaders said they see more cooperation between departments taking place.

So, how does this happen? Simply, through the act of building relationships between organizational departments. Here are some tips for facilitating good relations between HR and other business departments.

How to Build Good Relationships

1. First, and foremost, listen. No relationship works when one person does all the talking. HR professionals should be able to listen to the needs and concerns of individuals in other departments and respond accordingly. Providing a forum (weekly or monthly meetings, suggestions boxes, etc.) for employees of other departments to voice their concerns could be a successful first step.

2. Be fair. Your workplace is full of all types of different people, at different life stages, and with different life goals. Be certain you're adequately meeting the needs of all of those individuals with fair and consistent policies that are inclusive.

3. Offer the proper training. Sometimes relationships do not come naturally. Sometimes they feel like work! Training, on topics ranging from communication tactics to differing types of personalities you encounter, can help open the channels for successful teamwork and relationship-building.

4. Understand all areas of the business. How can you properly communicate with the marketing department, if you don't understand the basics of their work? Similarly, how can relationships be built if members of HR and other organizational departments don't see how their collaboration helps everyone to succeed? Developing a working knowledge of other areas of the business enables stronger relationships that contribute to organizational growth and effectiveness.

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