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Susan M. Heathfield

Do You Hate HR?

By May 20, 2014

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In a blog post awhile back, I talked about why everyone hates HR. I had had an interesting discussion with a client, to whom I had recommended hiring an HR Director, and she asked me that question in regard to her staff. She said, "Do they 'really' want an HR Director? They should be careful what they wish for. After all, everybody hates HR."

As always, when I receive interesting questions, I share them with you.

A post by Joshua says:

"I've never had a positive interaction with Human Resources.

"It starts with annoyance. In the technology field, HR is the department that stays firmly mired in the 80s with everything on paper, using outmoded forms, usually with false information and always requiring signature after signature for things which are unlawful, overreaching, counterfactual or frivolous.

"It reaches into unease. HR staff feel the need to put a 'friendly face' on all interactions, empathizing and finding common ground with employee concerns. However, they do not work with other employees on a regular basis, so they're empathetic strangers. It rings false, and no bond can be established on this basis.

"But it's much worse than that. Human Resources always sides with corporate interests. If there's a legal concern, such as a legitimate harassment situation, Human Resources will act as a mock support system for the involved parties, but ultimately act to protect the organization from perceived threats which may never be released at the expense of providing a healing resolution for anyone. It can be even worse, where the interests of the employee are simply snubbed entirely for bureaucratic reasons. Human Resources claims to be the advocate of employees, wanting to nourish and invest in them, but they have no structural accountability to the employees, so it's all a sham.

"Lastly Human Resources typically oversees the sham of 'performance reviews' which try to bottle useful feedback into stilted low-utility meetings that happen quarterly. In healthy organizations these systems actually work counter to healthy communication. They stifle feedback on areas for improvement, by channelling communication into a disciplinarian session instead of food for thought and growth.

"In short HR is symptomatic of what is unhealthy in American business culture."

Do Joshua's comments ring true with you?

Image Copyright istockphoto / Mary Gascho

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