If you work for a fairly large employer, chances are, you have an HR (human resources) department at your disposal. But how well are you really taking advantage of it? HR company Bravely recently identified three reasons why workers don't approach their HR partners for support. If any of these apply to you, it may be time to rethink your view of HR and consider the many things that department can do to make your life better on the job.

1. Employees don't know when it's appropriate to ask for help

The reason employees shy away from getting help from HR could boil down to a misunderstanding of how high the stakes have to be to seek assistance. Many workers stay away from HR when they feel their issues aren't major enough to warrant a discussion. Others, meanwhile, don't go to HR because they're not aware that they have that option; rather, they assume that HR people are solely responsible for hiring people, not helping people.

Two women having discussion


If you're experiencing challenges at work, it pays to see if an HR partner can help or intervene on your behalf. Doing so might prevent a smaller issue from becoming a large one.

What sort of problems can you bring to HR? You should feel free to discuss everything from conflicts with your manager to stress management to toxic coworkers who are bringing you down. And if you feel that you're being discriminated against in any way, you shouldn't hesitate to visit HR and get those incidents put on record.

2. Employees don't think going to HR will help

A good 45% of employees avoid seeking help from HR because they don't think it'll improve their situation at work. Worse yet, many worry that HR will be quick to act in the company's best interests rather than those of employees, and some fear retaliation for bringing up issues that present their employers in a negative light. But that lack of trust could end up hurting you and preventing you from getting the support you need. Rather than make assumptions about what your HR people will and will not do, give them a chance to step in and help you work through the issues you're having.

3. Employees struggle with difficult conversations

For some people, avoiding HR doesn't boil down to a lack of trust, but rather, a fear of engaging in uncomfortable conversations. Such is the case for 70% of workers, even though 60% say they have an HR person they can trust. If you've avoided talking to HR because you've been hesitant to engage in talks about sensitive topics, ask your employer to implement a system for obtaining advice anonymously. Or, work on developing relationships with your HR partner so that you feel more comfortable seeking advice in the future.

There's a reason companies have HR departments, and a big part of it is to serve as a resource for employees themselves. So don't hesitate to seek help the next time a conflict or problem arises. Working well with your HR team could make you happier at your job on a whole.