Establishing employee relations is one of the major roles of human resources – no wonder why the folks in the HR services department tend to be free-spirited, friendly, and approachable.
Whether it’s for a work-related requirement or a bit of pragmatic career advice, you can count on your HR to act on your needs. If you’ve built a good relationship with them outside of work, you may look at them as a wise friend, an older sibling, or even a secondary parent you turn to for pieces of advice.
However, there’s a fine line between building a solid relationship with the HR staff and oversharing personal and even scandalous information. Remember: they’re also employed by the company first. They want to help you out BUT if it’s in the best interests of the company.
Any information that’ll make them question your work ethics and your inability to live up to the goals of the company could cost you not only your reputation but also your job. Here are 8 examples of the things you should never tell your HR staff.
1. Any details about your second job
Are you “moonlighting” or working a second job to cover your living expenses? It’s fine, as long as you manage your time wisely and you’re not breaking any of the regulations stated in your contract. Just don’t tell this to the HR.
You may communicate negative messages you don’t even mean. You may send the idea that your current job doesn’t pay well or you’re unsatisfied with your job.
While a good HR department may ask if there’s anything they can do, they may hold it against you. They may pay extra attention to your failures, like missing work, arriving late, sending mediocre work, and more, and blame them on your second job.
2. Your thoughts on leaving the job while on leave
Let’s say you’re on month-long maternity leave. You’re contemplating becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom. You decide to share your thoughts with the HR.
Halfway through your leave, you’re informed that you’ll be reassigned to a home-based position and someone had been hired to fill your former in-house role.
All is well at first, but you eventually realize that it’s not professionally fulfilling, and you miss coming to work every day.
The takeaway is that HR makes decisions deemed in the best interests of the company and their employer if they feel like your reliability and commitment are unclear.
3. “I had fun with my vacation leave”
Whether you used your leave credits for unfortunate events (like caring for a sick family or recovering from an illness) or for a well-deserved vacation abroad, it’s better not to disclose the details of your time off.
Instead of dwelling on your previous absences, talk with HR about how you can pick up the pace and move forward at work. Otherwise, your commitment might be questioned.
4. Any details about your in-office relationship
Spilling the tea about the romance going on between you and your coworker should be saved for your friends at the bar – not the HR.
In many cases, romantic workplace relationships are not allowed to avoid polarization and distraction in the office. And even if it’s okay, it’s still unprofessional to talk to your HR about your relationship details. They’re not marriage counselors.
5. Any information about the lawsuit you filed against your previous employer
While you have legitimate reasons for filing a complaint against your previous boss, there’ll never be a good time to open it up to HR.
The HR departments live in fear of legal charges, and this confidential information can be threatening to them and your employer. Bringing these up can make them suspicious of your motives.
6. A detailed explanation of your medical issues
Do you need to take time off or seek extensive medical treatment for a health issue? While you’re obliged to state your reason, it’s not advisable to share your medical information in too much detail. Doing so may cause your employer to work as if you’re not there, or as if you wouldn’t come back.
Employers are concerned about their company’s profitability and productivity. So if you send the notion that you’ll have a lot of no-shows in the future, you may be excluded from promotions, opportunities, and leadership positions.
7. You broke the law/participate in a shady activity outside of work
Just because your involvement with an illegal activity has nothing to do with the quality of your work doesn’t mean your HR services can’t do or say something about it. Don’t put your HR in a situation where he/she must decide whether or not he or she is compelled to report you to the authorities.
The fact that you caused a threat is enough to hurt your place in the organization and affect their perception of you.
8. Your dilemmas, in general
Your HR doesn’t want to hear stories about your sour relationship with your husband, or how you filed a lawsuit against your neighbor, or why you haven’t spoken to your parents in one year. Personal issues should be kept outside of work unless they pose a potential workplace or personal safety risk.