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Why We Still Hate HR


February 22, 2021 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Blog


A few years ago, while plowing through my reading and research in graduate school I read an article called “Why we hate HR” by Keith H. Hammonds. In his extensive look at HR, mostly from a big corporation viewpoint, he described HR as “a dark bureaucratic force that blindly enforces nonsensical rules, resists creativity, and impedes constructive change.” Ouch!

From my point of view, training entrepreneurs, coaching businesswomen and talking to jobseekers I must say, we still hate HR. Let me tell you why.

The folks in HR still don’t get it. As a group they still don’t understand what the company does, who the customers are and what the core business drivers are. I base this assessment on the calls I get from clients that start with the words, “You’ll never believe what HR did this time.” The HR professionals I’ve talked to over the last few years have a mind-boggling understanding of paperwork, regulations and dodging phone calls. However, once they glance outside their own office they seem to be mystified.

There is still a bias towards “efficiency” instead of value. HR offices are keyed into the number of hours of training they provide-not the results delivered. They seem to collect job applications and process job candidates in a manner designed to prove their own competency and not as a pipeline for needed talent. Automated systems may make it easier to outsource the administrative tasks of HR, but they don’t necessarily add value.

Most importantly, HR still doesn’t work for you. As a profession HR still abhors exceptions, flexibility and individuality. Perhaps it’s the constant fear of legal action or maybe it’s just too much work. Whatever the reason, HR does not work for job candidates or current employees and most unfortunately they don’t really work well for the companies paying their salaries. The two most complained about HR related tasks in my client base are performance reviews and the hiring process.

Getting the job-the hiring process: HR continues to create hiring and screening processes that are so standardized that they weed out candidates that don’t easily fit into standardized forms. The result, creative, flexible and entrepreneurial-minded candidates never make the grade and get to decision makers. HR functions primarily as a gatekeeper and probably screens out more talent than any of us will ever realize.

Doing the job-performance review: Somehow, somewhere, somebody needs to teach managers how to use evaluation tools and how to do good employee performance reviews. HR perhaps? Doesn’t seem likely. It’s a complaint I’ve been hearing for years from entry level to mid-managers. Reviews are not done on time, or at all. Managers don’t seem to know what to say, how to coach or where to turn for help. It seems that filling out the forms on time and not employee development is the goal of the review process.

The global economy is viciously competitive. To really excel companies need to recruit the best talent, train them well and continuously and keep them. Based on what I see in my corner of the world it’s not happening. And that’s why we still hate HR.

Source by Karen Southall Watts