Who Does HR Really Work For, Anyway?

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Feb 17, 2016
This article is part of a series called Classic TLNT.

Editor’s Note: As I wind down my time as Editor of TLNT — yes, I’m leaving next month— I wanted to share a few of my favorite posts. Here’s one from October 2015. 

It’s an old but often asked question: Who does HR really work for?

I thought about this today while reading an interesting feature in The New York Times titled The WorkologistIt touts itself as “Friendly advice on any workplace conundrum, large or small.”

This is a good thing, because Lord knows we have a great many workplace conundrums to solve, especially when it comes to conundrums involving human resources.

At any rate, The Workologist  is one of those Q&A features where readers pose workplace questions and The Workologist — a man by the name of Rob Walker that The Times describes as “a guy with well-intentioned opinions, not a professional career adviser” — answers them.

Well, caveat emptor on HR and workplace advice from “a guy with well-intentioned opinions” who is “not a professional career adviser” or some sort of expert on workplace practices. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of his credentials.

Are HR conversations confidential?

But, one answered question that caught my eye recently had to do with a long-standing concern that gets asked about all the time:

Are conversations with a human resources department confidential?

It’s a great question that really never gets old, because employees are often encouraged to go to human resources to talk to them when they have a workplace issue that needs to be resolved.

This article is part of a series called Classic TLNT.
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