Why Does Everyone Hate HR?

Why Does Everyone Hate HR?

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When I worked for a short time in the compensation area for a Canadian Federal Government department, I noticed that the Human Resource Advisors were in a separate locked part of the building. I was even told not to interact with them. At this point, I was already taking university classes to get my management degree in HR, so it was something I would always remember.

Employees hate HR because HR is treated differently, only brought in when things get bad, and is unrecognized for the battles they fight with management.

Scott Adams’s depiction of HR and Catbert from the Dilbert cartoons seems accurate in how employees think of HR. Check out the Dilbert booksOpens in a new tab. (Paid Link) on Amazon for a good laugh, but below, I will try to explain why everyone hates HR.

HR is Treated Differently from Other Employees

Returning to my story at the top, HR departments and advisors are always separate from the rest of the employees.

This seems like special treatment, but it’s the perception of management that HR should be physically separate from the rest of the staff to avoid creating personalized relationships. Management thinks HR cannot do its job correctly if there are personal relationships.

In reality, it is okay to make friends with people working in HR!

HR is considered management, and in union environments, HR is exempt from union dues. As unions form, the role of HR changes from working for everyone to working more for management.

The HR department and the employee relations expert lead when negotiating with unions. At this level, it does make it hard for HR to keep the needs of the employees in mind. Unfortunately, if the employees are creating unions, management should have taken the advice of HR in the past.

Calling HR Means Things Are Bad

Employees or managers prefer to avoid visiting HR even when things are good! This stereotype is not without its truth, particularly in union environments.

Employees and managers should think of HR as a partner in employment. Getting proper career advice can help an employee advance the employee’s career in the organization or outside. HR can help employees be happy with their careers even if that means they leave the organization.

Managers should visit HR often to get advice on being a good leader. HR’s primary goal is to make the organization successful by ensuring employees are happy, and this is done by helping management be great leaders.

If HR is failing the organization, it can manifest as bad management. This is prevalent in small organizations that do not have a full-time HR or the owner has yet to get advice from an HR consultant.

HR Fights the Unseen Battles

A good HR advisor is not a “Yes Man”! A good HR advisor knows that happy employees make for a productive and prosperous organization. A good HR advisor knows what new and current employees best benefit the organization.

Management seems only to see what employee currently is creating the most value. Management seems only to want to fire low performers and hire high performers without looking at the needs of current employees. Management seems unwilling to train employees for the long-term benefit of the organization properly.

In all sizes and types of organizations, HR is trying to create happy employees while dealing with unreal capitalist ideals of management. If you ever see a policy change with a silver lining or reward attached, that is an HR-generated idea. If you see a policy change that only punishes employees into compliance, that is direct from management.

HR will defend the organization and management up the legally legislated rules in your area. After that, HR will lean toward supporting employees. HR will try hard to soften hardline regulations and policies that management demands.

The employees do not see or hear about the HR department’s debates and struggle with management. The changes and rules still come from HR, so management is partly shielded from employee ridicule. So, HR is perceived as the “Yes man” and the “bad guy” even though the HR department fights these unseen battles.

What’s Next?

Cut HR slack because they keep your organization from becoming worse than it already is!

Learn more about what HR does by reading my previous article, “What is the role of HR?

For human resources support in Canada, click here to book a free HR needs assessment now. If you’re on a budget, consider joining my Patreon to ask unlimitedOpens in a new tab. HR questions. If you need HR advice sooner, book a consultation via Fiverr here.

Ian Hopfe

Ian Hopfe is the owner of LBH Business Services Inc. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Ian is an Indigenous Human Resources Consultant. He has over ten years experience in HR and over fifteen years experience in management. All blog articles on this website are written by Ian unless a guest writer is indicated on the post.

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