• Don’t complain to HR on minor issues that you and your manager can solve
  • Be prepared and report only serious issues to HR
  • Be helpful and professional to minimize risk
This has been bothering you for quite some time now. Every day, week and month that you’re having to endure this issue at work, pushes you closer to the brink of calling it quits. It’s gotten to the point where you hate your fucking job now. And, that sucks because it wasn’t like that before.

There was a time when every day was a kickass day of joyful productivity and you actually had fun at work. But, it’s not like that anymore.

You’re at a critical point where you really feel, deep down inside, that you’ve gotta do something soon - like today, right now. Or else, you just might go off the rails.

The asshole in your head is screaming, going ape-shit and yelling at you to do something already. And that something is to go to HR and complain about this issue so that they can fix it.

However, there’s another smaller voice that’s unsure if this is the right thing to do. It’s the saner voice that’s trying to instill some logic. It’s battling with the louder demon and it’s starting to lose ground.

You’re at a critical point now.

Should you go to HR and complain about this?

Is this a smart thing to do?

Will it negatively affect your personal brand at work?

It’s time to think this through.

When You Should And Shouldn’t Complain To HR

There’s no such thing as a perfect workplace environment. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows every day. There will always be struggles, challenges and issues that you’ll have to deal with, work through and overcome.

And just like how you balance your workload priorities, you’ve got to be smart about escalating issues to your boss and/or human resources. You don’t want to be marked as that one chronic complainer at work.

HR knows who the constant whiners are. And, when these people approach HR, they are instantly known as serial bullshit complainers that will bitch about anything and everything at work and won’t be taken seriously.

These difficult pain-in-the-ass coworkers will moan and bicker about the smallest issues at work. It could be outdated office furniture, stained carpet tiles, slow elevators, shitty office coffee or any number of petty things.

You don’t want to be lumped into this group because if and when a serious issue arises, you won’t have any traction with HR at all. You’ll be in a negative position to begin with.

So, the question you need to ask yourself is whether or not this is truly a serious issue or not.

Things like people vaping at work, miscalculated PTO hours, a stolen red stapler (ahem, Milton?), lack of office plants, having to eat the same office birthday cake over and over, etc. are all just petty complaints that don’t justify complaining to HR about.

If you complain to HR about these minor things, you’re just screwing yourself. You’ll be marked as a chronic complainer and will never be taken seriously. You’ll just become a thorn in their side or that irritating little pebble in their shoe. Never complain to HR about petty bullshit.

However, if it’s an issue that’s truly breaking the law, negatively impacting your productivity, health and safety, then it could qualify as being something that needs to be reported to HR.

Things like sexual harassment, unpaid back wages, extreme bullying from office assholes, workplace safety hazards, unlawful retaliation from your bitch boss and fraud are some of the more serious issues that you should approach HR about. It’s these kinds of significant and serious issues that warrant a meeting with HR, not annoying issues of cubicle etiquette or violations of the employee handbook.

One Of The Best Ways To Complain To HR

There’s no single best method to complain to HR. This is because the scenarios, organizations, policies and procedures vary widely from company to company. It can even vary within an organization by department or group too.

This is just one possible way you can report your complaint to HR. Think of this as a general guideline or structure to help you formulate the method that will work best for your issue. You’ll need to tweak and adjust this to suit your particular situation.

Be Prepared & Gather The Facts

One of the worst ways to complain to HR is to just call your HR person randomly and vent about it. This is a rookie mistake. Blindsiding your HR rep on something from left field isn’t going to bode well.

You need to get in the zone and do this like an investigator. Gather the facts of the situation. Collect the evidence. You have to do your homework here.

Give Specifics And Be Concise

Your written complaint to HR should be specific yet concise. You have to state the specifics of the situation clearly with enough details to explain the scenario but in a way that is not too long and drawn out.

Generally speaking, you want to be able to concisely state the issue in one to three paragraphs with each paragraph only having a few sentences. If you have more than that, force yourself to cut back to the core of the issue.

Don’t Be Threatening

The last thing you want to do is come across as threatening. Remember, HR mainly exists to manage people so that the company can get the most productivity out of everyone and fix any potential problems.

HR is there to protect the company, not you. This is why it can seem like HR fucking sucks and won’t help you during your time of need. This is because if you are seen as a possible threat to the company, HR will do things in the background to protect the company from any actions you might take - that’s one of their main responsibilities.

Provide A Solution To The Problem 

Don’t just bring the problem or issue to HR. You should also bring some solutions too. Anybody can complain, not everyone has the smarts and the insight to develop solutions.

Frame the complaint as a key issue that is preventing you and/or the company from improving productivity, sales, profits, employee morale, etc. Then, provide a few solutions that can solve the problem. And specifically, what you can do to help.

Be Helpful & Professional

Whiners at work don’t do anything but whine. But, this isn’t you. You’re better than that. You have to be genuinely helpful and professional about the issue at hand. And, this will be really hard to do especially if the issue is tearing you apart mentally and emotionally.

It’s not what you say, but how you say it that matters too. You have to keep calm and stay cool no matter how bad things are, even when you feel like you’re about to lose your shit.

Complain In Writing, Not Just Verbally

There are countless times that many employees will just complain verbally to HR. Some people think that it’s better to not have anything in writing so that it can’t be traced back to you. The reality is that no matter how you complain, HR will take notes and share them internally, even when they say everything is “held in confidence”.

Since it’s a serious issue that you’re raising, you have to put it in writing. This is especially true if your complaint is about something that is unlawful.

Keep A Copy For Yourself

You know all about CYA emails, right? You gotta do the same here by keeping a copy of the complaint and HR’s response, if any.

Print out a hard copy of the complaint and take it home with you. Forward a copy of the complaint to your personal email so that you have an additional electronic copy. This is to cover your ass just in case HR tries to pull a fast one and turn the tables on you, which does happen.

Be Smart About When And How To Complain To Keep Yourself Safe

If what you’re going through isn’t truly a serious matter, then you’ll want to work with your manager to sort shit out. Hopefully, your manager has got your back and isn’t a spineless boss that doesn’t stick up for you. This is the way to handle minor issues.

However, if you’re in a really serious situation, where there is a potentially illegal or unlawful issue at hand, you’ll want to plan carefully so that you’re not putting yourself at risk. There have been examples where employees that brought up serious issues at work ended up being written up later on as a way for the company to lay the groundwork to cut you loose.

Don’t make any snap judgements or have knee-jerk reactions right now. This is not the time to go in with your guns blazing. You have to be careful, methodical and expedient.

Do your homework, be prepared, and get everything lined up and you’ll get through it.

Feel Better,

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