Employees sometimes look to their organization’s HR department for support when their personal and professional lives collide. Given the nature of the role, it’s understandable that employees become comfortable seeking advice from HR—many HR professionals enter the field because they are ‘people’ people. They care about the well-being of others and want to help employees navigate their professional and personal lives. They want employees to feel comfortable coming forward when they’re experiencing problems, but sometimes it can feel like the employee expects a personal counsellor.
Although HR is often an expansive role, encompassing many different functions (and might not even be your only or primary responsibility in your organization), personal counsellor is not part of HR’s prerogative. This can be a problem when you must have a frank conversation with an employee who has confided personal details and now sees you as more of a confidant than an HR professional.