With all of the bad press about HR recently, many HR staff the world over are starting to feel a little unappreciated. What has caused this opinion of HR staff and why are they undervalued?
HR staff are traditionally not trusted by the general staff at companies. This is primarily because, regardless of all the positive things that they do, when something goes wrong and disciplinary issues are involved, HR staff are always present. In these scenarios, they usually have to represent the company, rather than an individual. Inevitably, HR staff are not trusted and feelings are produced of them being ‘against you'.
Even in situations of personal conflict, such as a sexual harassment charge or in the case of a personal grievance, HR can only act on evidence provided or if things have been documented. If a staff member who brings a grievance states that a member of management has misled them or backed out of a promise which was given, HR can do nothing if no evidence exists. Again, it seems to reinforce that HR is actually on the side of the ‘company', rather than the individual and is another reason to explain why HR feel undervalued.
So, while this side of the coin seems understandable, what of the other? Are they appreciated by management? Unfortunately, the answer is more than likely a resounding ‘no'. Very often, management regard HR staff to be essential because they are somebody or a team that takes care of the more unpleasant issues that come up.
They are seen as an essential cost, rather than something producing positive results for the company. This is why so many companies, if at all possible, choose to outsource the HR function.
As a direct result of the aforementioned, HR staff suffer alienation, are reluctant to make friends and they also put their faith in people who they work alongside. Staff alienation is particularly true if they do not work full-time and are only in the office for a limited time period per week.
Is there anything that can be done? If so, by who? A follow up post on specific strategies will be forthcoming shortly but, in the interim, realise that it is only YOU that can change this. Between now and the follow up article later this week, why not think about what you can do to change things? Or perhaps you have already done something at your place of work? Feel free to share your own examples and let other people in similar positions to you benefit from your experience.
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