What the Boss Really Thinks of HR

Article main image
Oct 2, 2013

Are human resources professionals the “lackeys of business?”

I used to think so. That is, until I learned more about what they do.

Now I have a tremendous amount of respect for HR professionals. In fact, we need more people like them.

HR is a very difficult role. They’re trying to keep the business out of trouble while walking the careful line of legal territory.

At the same time they’re heading off potentially serious issues, the company keeps dumping miscellaneous tasks on them, such as party planning and writing the monthly newsletter, because they are so wonderfully efficient.

Why no respect for HR?

Their door is always open to employees who just need a minute to vent, while trying to handle hiring and onboarding of new hires. They’re negotiating peace between managers and employees, but they can’t rest for a minute because there are always new uncharted waters to navigate, such as the health care law.

They’re expected to know everything about everything. And don’t get me started on paperwork, legal notices, and deadlines that must be met. They handle all this, without grumbling.

HR professionals are hardly the lackeys of business. What they are is a vital part of business, and they’re becoming more vital every day! The number of technical and complicated tasks they deal with is amazing — and it’s increasing all the time.

I have a huge respect for HR.

That’s why it must seem unfair when they don’t get what they want the most: a seat at the table.

Even after they’ve worked so hard to do everything right — they’re still getting shut out. Why?

It all comes down to loyalty — to the business owner

OK, here’s why … the answer was easily summed up by a consultant I recently heard speak at a business meeting. To paraphrase, he essentially said this:

All of you business owners — is your HR manager more loyal to you, or more loyal to your employees?

If your answer is that the HR person is more loyal to your employees, get rid of that HR manager right away (no matter how good they are in performing their HR tasks) and hire somebody else!

However, if you think your HR person is sincerely loyal to you and your business first, test their loyalty to make sure, and then promote that HR person, because he or she is a rare find.”

Employees, unfortunately, don’t come first

That’s it. Is it a little ugly? Yes. Did this really happen? Yes.

Ultimately, HR needs to be extremely considerate of the plight of the employees. But, when push comes to shove, their loyalty must be to the business owner and to the company, first and foremost.

Although there’s no guarantee, it’s safe to assume that if an HR professional’s loyalty isn’t first to the owner and the business, they’ll never get a seat at the table.

Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!