If your first thought was “I’m in trouble” when human resources requests a meeting, you’re not alone. But thankfully, HR meetings aren’t always related to performance. Human resources professionals play an essential role in company growth, employee satisfaction, identifying learning opportunities, and so much more, and the requested discussion can cover any number of topics related to the workplace. With these HR meeting tips, you can head in feeling prepared for a positive and productive session.
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What is an HR meeting?
An HR meeting refers to any sit-down (or virtual) discussion between human resources and an employee, manager, department head, or anyone else in the company. HR meetings are unique in that they can involve team members at all levels of a company, from entry-level staff to the C suite.
Since HR’s responsibilities cover a vast array of employment-related functions, the reason why you’re meeting human resources can vary. Keep reading to learn more.
Different types of HR meetings
An HR meeting can be called for any number of reasons, including:
HR representatives meet with department leads and managers to determine the company’s staffing needs. Using a combination of sales forecasts, department budgets, and an evaluation of the department’s needs, HR helps determine how many new employees the company can afford to bring on and how their influence can help the company grow.
Oftentimes with the input of the department head, HR crafts job descriptions and works to put word out there that your company is hiring, either by using an online job board or working with a staffing agency to aid in the search.
In most companies, HR participates in the job interview process, either as its own standalone conversation or with the department head or hiring manager. In these interviews, the HR team screens prospective employees to ensure their previous experience and skills match what the company is looking for.
During the initial interview, the HR manager discusses the position, the company benefits, and reviews expectations for the position. Some companies may also require certain paperwork or questionnaires to process and review the job application; HR is responsible for managing and collecting this paperwork.
When a new team member starts at your company, they’ll go through some form of orientation with HR. This can include important tax paperwork and other documents as required by the government, payroll information, company handbook review, and any necessary training regarding workplace behavior, like diversity and inclusion training or sexual harassment awareness training. This meeting is also a good time for new hires to ask any questions regarding company procedures, dress code, and any other odds and ends that come to mind.
Some companies require additional training meetings for employees throughout the year, and HR is often responsible for facilitating it. This training depends on the type of work you do. For instance, healthcare workers may be required to undergo regular health and safety training, or warehouse team members may need to attend safe forklift operation seminars.
HR members need to meet with new hires to discuss benefits within the company, such as health insurance. This meeting allows new hires to ask questions about their options, review costs, and confirm the plans in which they’d like to enroll. Once the new team member decides on their plans, HR is responsible for enrolling them. Current team members can schedule meetings with HR to change plans or ask questions at any time, although enrollment may not be available 365 days a year.
Performance evaluations are a regular part of any team member’s time with a company. In many businesses, these evaluations are run by HR, or conducted in a meeting where HR is present. Typically held quarterly, bi annually, or annually, performance evaluations hold space to discuss a team member’s work quality, identifying areas of strength and discussing ways in which the team member can improve.
While the idea of a performance evaluation can be nerve-wracking, these meetings are positive and valuable ways to grow and improve.
“Emphasize that [performance evaluations are] for them. For their professional growth and can also be the catalyst for promotions/raises in some cases,” said Shopify Retail Content and SEO lead Kameron Jenkins. “It’s also a two-way conversation, so it can serve as a time where they can get performance-related concerns off their chest as well.”
An investigation meeting occurs when there’s a problem in the office between coworkers or company policies were not followed. If this is the case, the HR department may ask you to come in for a one-on-one meeting. Even if the person isn’t directly involved in the incident in question, HR may want to hear what someone witnessed or hear input or concerns regarding the situation at hand.
Whether behavioral, performance-related, or something similar, a disciplinary meeting requires the presence of human resources. This meeting documents the infractions, discusses the issues and potential consequences with the team member, and explains the next steps. Depending on the severity of the circumstances, the team member in question may be fired for their actions.
If a team member is leaving your company, they’ll likely be called to an HR meeting to discuss why they decided to go. This meeting typically covers key accomplishments during the team member’s tenure at your company, as well as more specific information on what the company can do to improve things for other team members. The HR team then uses this information to see if they can pinpoint potential issues that may have other employees looking for another job.
HR gets involved if a team member requests to transfer between departments or a business’s locations. It may also come at the behest of a manager who may think your skill sets are of better use in other places within the organization. To kickstart this process, an HR meeting is scheduled, in which you’ll review the particulars of making this transfer a reality.
Tips for meeting with human resources
Whether you’re meeting with an HR manager to discuss benefits, a possible transfer, or to hire more staff, you want to be well prepared for the discussion at hand. Read below to discover some helpful tips that can make these meetings productive and beneficial for everyone involved.
- Be calm – and ask for details
A request for an HR meeting can be unnerving if you don’t know what the meeting is about. Ask the person requesting a meeting for its purpose, or better yet, ask for an agenda that covers all topics to be covered. While you may not get an agenda if the conversation involves disciplinary action or a firing, this can help allay any concerns you may have if the meeting is about staffing, benefits, promotions, or another HR meeting type.
- If it’s a performance evaluation, own up to your mistakes
If an HR manager wants to meet with you to discuss poor performance or bad behavior, it’s best to not deny or explain away the issues being discussed. Hear them out – as difficult as it may be, pay attention to what’s being said. You want to take what’s said to heart and reflect on how you can improve. By listening and taking initiative, you’re showing your managers that you can take peer feedback well and are willing to prove yourself.
- Ask for help
HR is uniquely qualified to connect you with information, programs, and other resources that can help you achieve your goals. They can work with you to find great new ways to train team members, recruit talent, explore new benefits, and more. Don’t overlook this wellspring of information: Come to the meeting with questions and ideas for ways HR can help.
- Leave with an action plan
No matter the reason for your meeting with HR, be sure to have clear next steps as you make your separate ways. Write a follow up email after the meeting that covers what was discussed and what needs to be done next. You should also include a suggested date and time for the next meeting to regroup on action items that resulted from the HR meeting.