May be you were just the unlucky person who picked up the phone but
the manager on the other end is angry, very angry with HR. Perhaps
something has gone wrong in the recruitment process, maybe there has
been a cock up over the redundancy notices, or a disgruntled employee
has been advised to submit a formal grievance against this manager.
Could it be that the disciplinary hearing did not result in the out
come the manager wanted!
It could of course be that you’re ringing them in response to their
abusive email which was clearly fired off in a burst of anger and
frustration. Perhaps now they have had time to think about it they may
regret the language used so don’t start the conversation by telling
them they how inappropriate you think their email was. Alternatively
you may be contacting them about the sarcastic and rude voice mail
they left. It would be better if this could be a face to face meeting
but if that not possible.
First think about how to start the conversation remembering not to
take the anger language personally, acknowledge that they are upset
and encourage them to talk about it. Secondly they should not address
you or your staff in this manor but let’s deal with that when things
have calmed down. The best way to take the heat out of the situation
is let them have their say. If a mistake has been made then the
quicker that’s acknowledged and apologised for the better. The next
step is to agree what needs to be done to rectify the situation.
If the problem is they the don’t like a decision, then acknowledge
that fact. Even though they don’t agree with the decision , say the
out come of a disciplinary or the decision not to offer a place on a
management course, can you provide further information about the
reasoning behind the decision. Of course it may be that their
disagreement is with the policy such as a freeze on filling vacancies
or a ban on the use of agency staff as a cost saving measure. In
which case you can offer advice on making the case for an exemption.
It’s often the case that HR is just the messenger and we know people
have a tendency to shoot the messenger if they don’t like the message,
so it makes sense to hone our skills in deflecting anger and retaining
an out ward appearance of calm reasonableness, even if that’s not how
we feel inside.
Blair Mcpherson former Director author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk