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Meeting Tips

How to Survive a Meeting With HR

February 26, 2024
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February 26, 2024
Phu Ta
How to Survive a Meeting With HR
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As an employee, meeting with HR can be terrifying because you don't know what's going to happen next and what to expect.

Don't worry, this blog is here to bring you insights on how to help you prepare for a successful meeting with HR.

What Does HR Do?

HR plays a critical role in any organization, acting as a bridge between management and employees.

Human resource professionals encompass a wide range of responsibilities aimed at fostering a healthy workplace environment:

  • Employee Support and Development: HR professionals provide emotional support, oversee ongoing training and facilitate performance evaluations to satisfy employee workplace concerns and help them grow in their roles.
  • Recruitment and Hiring: From the job interview process to finding prospective employees to welcoming new hires, HR ensures the company attracts and retains skilled individuals.
  • Managing Company Policies: Ensuring compliance with company policies and legal requirements, HR addresses everything from remote work setups to disciplinary issues.
  • Employee Relations: HR acts as a mediator in resolving workplace conflicts, handling disciplinary meetings and negotiating with union representatives when applicable.
  • Benefits and Compensation: They also manage health insurance, company benefits and other aspects of employee compensation.

Positions within HR teams can vary depending on the organization's size and needs but typically include roles like HR Manager, HR Generalist, HR Specialist (focusing on areas such as recruitment, training, or benefits), HR Coordinator, HR Assistant, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Learning and Development Officer, Payroll Specialist and Employee Relations Manager.

Each role focuses on different aspects of HR functions, from strategic planning and compliance to employee support and development.

Different Types of HR Meetings

HR meetings can vary significantly in nature and purpose, each requiring a different approach and preparation. Here are some of the most common types of gatherings between existing employees and HR.

Benefits and Compensation

Meetings that focus on employee benefits are dedicated to informing employees about their compensation packages, including health insurance, retirement plans and other company-provided benefits.

These meetings aim to clarify the details of these benefits, how to utilize them and any changes or updates to the benefits package.

They are crucial for ensuring employees understand and can fully take advantage of the benefits offered by the employer.

Performance Evaluations

Performance evaluations in HR meetings are structured assessments where an employee's job performance is reviewed and discussed.

These evaluations typically focus on achievements, areas for improvement, goals for future performance and developmental needs.

The process involves both the employee and their supervisor or HR person and aims to provide constructive feedback, set objectives and support career development.

Ongoing Training

Ongoing training in the context of HR meetings refers to regular, scheduled sessions aimed at enhancing employees' skills and knowledge.

This training is designed to support professional development, adapt to changing job roles or technologies and ensure compliance with industry standards or regulations.

It plays a vital role in continuous learning and improvement, contributing to both individual career growth and organizational success.

Disciplinary Meetings and Investigations

Disciplinary meetings and investigations are HR processes focused on addressing allegations of policy violations or misconduct within the organization.

Disciplinary meetings involve discussing the issue with the employee, presenting evidence and hearing the employee's side of the story.

Investigations are a more formal process, aiming to impartially gather and examine all relevant information before deciding on disciplinary action.

These procedures ensure fairness and due process in resolving workplace issues.


Transfer interviews in HR meetings are discussions held with employees who are being considered for or have requested a transfer to a different department, role, or location within the organization.

These interviews assess the employee's motivations, suitability for the new role and how the transfer aligns with their career goals and the company's needs.

They ensure a smooth transition and help both the employee and the organization to adapt to the change effectively.

Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are HR meetings conducted with employees who are leaving the company.

These sessions are designed to gather feedback on the employee's experience and suggestions for the company's improvement.

The goal is to gain insights that can help the organization improve its work environment, retain talent and address any systemic issues that may contribute to employee turnover.

Why Would HR Want to Meet With Me?

Human Resources may need to have meetings with employees for a variety of reasons, reflecting the wide range of responsibilities HR holds in managing the workforce and ensuring a positive and productive work environment.

Here are some common reasons for HR to initiate a meeting with you:

To Give You Feedback on Your Performance

You can expect to hear about your achievements, challenges, and areas where you can grow. Hopefully, you'll receive actionable advice on how to leverage your strengths and address any weaknesses.

This is an opportunity for open dialogue, where your aspirations and potential career paths within the company can also be discussed.

To Update You about Policy Changes

HR may meet with you to discuss updates to company procedures, compliance requirements, or benefits. These meetings ensure you understand how changes affect your role and responsibilities, promoting a seamless transition to new practices.

It's also an opportunity for you to ask questions and get clarifications, ensuring you're fully informed and comfortable with the new policies.

To Resolve Conflicts

Conflict resolution meetings are convened to address and mediate disputes or misunderstandings in the workplace. Whether the conflict is with another colleague or a supervisor, HR aims to provide a neutral ground for open discussion and resolution.

The goal is to restore a positive and collaborative work environment, ensuring that all parties feel heard and that a fair and constructive resolution is reached.

To Discuss Conduct or Compliance Concerns

When there are concerns about adherence to company policies or professional conduct, HR will want to discuss this with you directly. These meetings are not just about addressing what went wrong but also about understanding the context, providing guidance on expected behaviors, and working together to find a positive way forward.

It's an opportunity for re-alignment with company values and standards, ensuring that everyone is contributing to a respectful and ethical workplace.

To Support You Through Career Transitions

Whether it's about potential layoffs, restructuring, or your own decision to leave the company, HR is there to guide you through the process. These meetings can cover a range of topics, from discussing severance packages to the continuation of benefits, and even providing resources for your next steps.

The aim is to ensure that transitions are handled with sensitivity and respect, providing clarity and support during times of change.

10 Tips for Meeting With Human Resources

Meeting with HR can be a significant event for an employee, whether it's for a positive reason like discussing career development opportunities, or a more challenging situation like addressing workplace conflicts.

Approaching an HR meeting with preparation and a positive mindset can significantly influence the outcome. Here are some tips to help you navigate these meetings successfully:

(1) Understand the Purpose of the Meeting

Clarify why the meeting has been scheduled. Knowing the agenda can help you prepare accordingly, whether it's gathering necessary documents, reflecting on relevant situations, or formulating questions you want to ask.

(2) Prepare Your Questions and Gather Necessary Documentation in Advance

Make a list of the key points you want to discuss or any questions you have. This ensures that you cover all important topics during the meeting.

If the meeting involves specific incidents, performance reviews, or any issue requiring proof or examples, bring relevant emails, documents, or notes to support your points.

(3) Learn About Your Rights and the Company's Policies

Be aware of your rights as an employee and familiarize yourself with the company's policies related to your discussion points. This knowledge can help you navigate the conversation more effectively.

(4) Stay Professional and Respectful

Regardless of the meeting's nature, maintain a professional demeanor. Approach the meeting with a constructive attitude, even if you're discussing a difficult topic.

Being too bold can close off constructive dialogue, while being respectful opens the door to understanding and collaborative problem-solving.

For example, you might think the meeting is a waste of time. Instead of being too bold, you can let the HR professional know that you want to quickly tackle solutions that help you move forward.

(5) Be Open and Honest

Be truthful about your feelings, experiences, and perspectives, as this transparency allows HR to fully understand your situation and provide appropriate support.

For instance, if you're feeling overwhelmed by your workload, sharing specific examples can lead to practical solutions, such as adjusting your tasks or deadlines.

(6) Listen Actively

Pay close attention to what the HR representative says. Active listening not only shows respect but also helps you grasp their perspective and the nuances of relevant company policies.

For example, if HR is explaining a new performance evaluation process, listening carefully will help you understand how it applies to you and what you can expect, allowing for a more informed and constructive response.

(7) Take Notes

Writing down key points during the meeting can help you remember important details, follow-up actions and any agreed-upon next steps.

As an employee during HR meetings, you probably won't have the luxury of writing everything down that's being said by HR. If the HR professional is okay with it, consider letting an AI tool like Wudpecker record and summarize the discussion for you.

This way, you don't have to worry about the distracting task of writing down notes, nor forgetting anything important. It's a win-win!

(8) Ask for Clarification When Needed

If you don't understand something, don't hesitate to ask for clarification. It's important that you leave the meeting with a clear understanding of any information shared or decisions made.

For example, if HR mentions a policy or term you're unfamiliar with, asking for an explanation can prevent misunderstandings and help you fully grasp the implications for your situation.

(9) Plan for Follow-up

Before the meeting ends, discuss the next steps. Ask about the expected timeline for any decisions or actions that need to be taken. Make sure you know whom to contact for updates or further discussion.

This ensures you're both on the same page about how and when to address unresolved issues, keeping the momentum going.

(10) Reflect Post-Meeting

After the meeting, take some time to reflect on the discussion. Consider the outcomes and any personal actions you need to take. If you agree to follow up on certain items, make sure you do so in a timely manner.

Reflecting on the feedback received can also provide valuable insights into your professional development and help you plan your next steps.


Successfully navigating HR meetings is about preparation, clear communication and seeing these interactions as opportunities for professional development and resolution.

By understanding the role of HR, the types of meetings you might encounter and approaching them with the right mindset and preparation, you can turn HR meetings into positive experiences.

Remember, HR is there to support both you and the organization's goals, making these meetings invaluable for career growth and workplace harmony.


Can I Bring a Representative to a Disciplinary Meeting with HR?

Yes, in many organizations, employees are allowed to bring a union representative or a colleague to disciplinary meetings for support and representation. It's advisable to check your company's policy or HR guidelines beforehand.

How Often Are Performance Evaluations Conducted?

Performance evaluations are typically conducted annually, but some organizations may have bi-annual or quarterly reviews to more frequently assess and discuss employee performance.

What Should I Do if I Disagree With the Feedback Received in an HR Meeting?

If you disagree with the feedback, calmly express your concerns during the meeting and provide examples or evidence to support your perspective. You can also request a follow-up meeting after gathering additional information or reflecting on the feedback.

Is It Confidential What Is Discussed in an HR Meeting?

Yes, discussions in HR meetings are generally confidential. However, certain information may need to be shared with relevant parties within the organization to address specific issues or implement solutions.

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How to Survive a Meeting With HR
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