Words That Can Destroy Your HR Career – Fast!


Working in Human Resources can be a very stressful job and many of them lead a rough work life. Staff and employees complain, the benefits and rewards are never enough and the bosses often ask HR to fix the unfixable. As highly stressful job, you tend to become unsympathetic very quickly and lose patience, many people that work in HR are guilty of using 10 of these no-no words:

  1. Nobody Has Ever Asked Me That Before!

Saying this to an employee or boss, things can go downhill pretty quickly and you will sound incompetent. It makes you sound like you do not care as a HR person, it is okay to admit that you do not know the answer and will get back to that person but conveying that exact sentence you are basically subconsciously telling them that the question is stupid and a complete waste of your time.



  1. Did You Take Time To Read The Employee Handbook?!

HR professionals love to use this sentence when responding to certain questions, because the answer is already in the handbook or they just cannot be bothered to answer the question so they refer them to the book. Not all staff will be able to decipher what is in the book line for line, so instead, go through it with them and go through the parts they do not understand, if the company is large then hold a presentation to cover highlights and a Q&A session afterwards to clear up the loose ends.

  1. That Is A Poor Excuse

This is used in a number of ways such as when staff call off sick or someone asks for personal time off. It is also used when an employee offers up a response to a question from you, for example – during interview time. You may as well just take a bat and hit the employee over the head with it! Sure, many companies have those problematic employees who always abuse policies, allowing that abuse to get the better of you and your HR professionalism is a very bad thing to do. Instead, you need to approach from a counsellor’s point of view, without getting too personal and ask them if there is anything the company can do to “fix” or patch up this problem.

  1. Are You Pregnant, Again?!

This is one MAJOR no no! In my own HR career I have heard these words muttered many of times, not in a good way either. In the back of your mind you’re going to be thinking about all the time off needed and personal vacation time she has accrued to date, you are not actually conveying a warmness to the employee at all here. If I were expecting a new bundle of joy and a HR professional said these words to me, I would be inclined to sue, no HR department wants to deal with any lawsuits. HR is your professional world and chosen field, so let’s use basic common sense here, tell the employee to take a seat after congratulating them and go over the benefits and what is available to them.


  1. If You Are Late Once More, You Are Sacked!

Harsh words and very threatening, this could be dealt with much easier by use of employee warning forms. If you have someone who is consistently late then hand them a warning form each time, once they have accumulated so many then sit them down and go through with them the reasons why they are late all of the time, you can then chose to terminate them or try to fix the problem with them. Written warnings tell them they may be fired and will lose their job so we don’t need to verbalize it at all.

  1. I Will Do It This Once, But It Is Not My Job!

It is your job to aid and help employees in anyway possible, if someones asks you to go over how online time sheets work or if the companies healthcare plan covers a certain issue, go over it with them and help them understand.

  1. We Do Not Take Suggestions

I, quite frankly, am not a fan of suggestion boxes in the workplace as this can offer up a whole load of silliness and bashing submissions. Instead, if an employee has an idea or suggestion offer up a focus group or feedback forum so people can get their ideas out and other suggestions they may have to improve things in the workplace. Everyone knows engaged employees work faster, better and are a lot more happy and productive.

  1. I Don’t Have The Time Right Now

Ew, this is right off the bat telling the employee that you just cannot be bothered and are totally unprofessional. You may not have time when the employee walks in but you need to make time or setup an appointment for a sit down visit. Using this sentence to one employee can start a chain reaction and stop others from approaching HR in fear of the same reprimand.

  1. Yes, You Were Paid Correctly!

Payroll mistakes are made all the time in every single company on the planet! Do not dismiss someone asking to re-check their paycheck as this is not only unprofessional but highly illegal. Take the time to re-check it for them, if the payment is not wrong then take the time to go through the deductions with them so that they understand for next time.

  1. Your Family’s Events Are Not Important To Us

Well, no they are not! But we cannot say this out loud. In the economic downfall, many employers are cutting back on personal time and completely dis-allowing it. If an employee asks for personal time off without pay, keep these words inside your head, we don’t need to make things worse. Be sympathetic and go out of your way to help the employee, such as asking management if they could get someone to cover a shift or better yet, see if you can build a personal time off plan that the whole company can life with.


We love our jobs in the human resources department, it is what we trained all those years for! To help people and aid them as much as we possibly can, we strive to make their lives at work more productive, stress-free and fun.

Just remember, if you find yourself using any of the above words, you are putting yourself in danger and lowering your professionalism, we have a standard to keep and it must be kept at all times and shown to the employees, slipping into those words are bad news and it will stick out like a saw thumb to the whole workforce.

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