Personnel policies and procedures for your work force are contained in your company’s employee handbook, discussed during new hire orientation and referred to whenever there is a question about a process or an employee issue. Human resources personnel are, however, held to a higher standard than the rest of your work force by virtue of the kind of information to which they have access. Policies and procedures apply only to human resources staff members, some of them unwritten but fully justifiable for members of the human resources professional community.
Confidentiality is a priority within the human resources department, and individuals who work in the human resources department are expected to protect the confidentiality of information the department processes or receives. In particular, the human resources department has a HIPAA officer who is specifically assigned to maintain confidentiality of employees’ health-related information. Pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, employers are required to designate a privacy officer. The federal HIPAA law defines entities subject to the privacy as businesses that provide health care services, such as a hospital or clinic. According to Texas statutes, health care facilities and any other type of entity that stores, updates or maintains any health-related information is subject to the more stringent requirements of Texas privacy rules. In addition to health-related information for which confidentiality is important, other human resources information subject to privacy includes employees’ personal contact information, salary and wage amounts, and any other sensitive information, such as licensing applications and new hire documentation. Finally, human resources staff members are responsible for maintaining confidentiality of employment actions, such as reasons for termination, employee discipline and performance appraisal information.
Although employers are reluctant to instruct human resources department staff to refrain from fraternizing with employees from other departments, it’s probably a prudent choice for an HR staff member to limit interaction with employees from other departments. Even if the human resources employee is not sharing sensitive information with an employee from another department who happens to be a friend, the appearance of impropriety could become an issue. Conversely, some employees seek friendships with human resources employees for the sole purpose of gaining access to information to which they would not normally have access. Employees may also want to develop friends with human resources staff members with the expectation of favoritism, such as leniency in disciplinary actions. In organizations where employees are represented by a labor union, it is especially important to draw a line in the sand between management–including HR staff–and workers because of the adversarial stance some union members assume when interacting with anyone in a management role.
Human resources personnel are also expected to demonstrate loyalty to your company. Exchanging information with competitors is generally not tolerated if the information is used for illicit purposes. On the other hand, members of your human resources department belong to a professional community, which encourages the exchange of ideas and information with members from employers in the same industry or business. For example, if your compensation specialist maintains a professional relationship with the compensation professional at another company that contact may come in handy when she conducts a compensation study. The professional relationship is, in many ways, advantageous but should always remain strictly professional. Likewise, other members of your human resources staff are expected to remain loyal and demonstrate professionalism when interacting with anyone from a neighboring business or competitor. Human resources staff members are privy to information that, if leaked, could compromise or jeopardize the state of affairs for your organization.
2016 Salary Information for Human Resources Manager
Human resources managers earned a median annual salary of $106,910 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, human resources managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $80,800, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $145,220, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 136,100 people were employed in the U.S. as human resources managers.