I’ve worked as a wholesaler (employee benefit specialist) most of my career and came over to the retail side simply because I didn’t like what “so-called” benefit consultants were doing to their clients (i.e. HR professionals like yourself) or not doing. I believe I can do a better job.

Further, I don’t believe HR professionals get the professional credit they deserve from upper management. It’s starting to change, but has a long way to go.

Would you agree?

Yes…and no. I deserve more respect. And more money. A lot more money. And an office with a window. Right now I’m in an old file room and there are no windows and the furniture is that old metal stuff (not the chair–it’s not that primitive) and they won’t let me put up a cork board because it’s not standard. “I’m in an old file room. Everyone else has wooden furniture and you’re telling me I can’t have a silly cork board?!” I said. “Yes,” they said. Facilities has more power than they should.

I’m digressing. Yes, HR deserves respect. Sometimes. Sometimes we do it to ourselves.

Respect isn’t granted, it’s earned. HR people that are rubber stamping sycophants don’t deserve respect. Business people who work on the people side in order to make sure that the company does the right thing for the people and the business, they deserve more respect.

Employee relations people who navigate critical situations and resolve conflicts that can save the company hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions) in lawsuits and help retain the best talent deserve respect. Employee relations people who play favorites and ignore problems until they explode don’t deserve respect.

HE people who don’t take the time to develop their own employees but turn around and lecture line management on developing their employees rightly should not be respected.

There are some fabulous HR people and departments. There are some real screw ups. Some times we end up in departments that have been headed by screw ups for years and we have to earn respect. It’s our responsibility.

And welcome to the dark side.

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4 thoughts on “Is HR Not Respected?

  1. Brava Evil!!! Way to hit several nails on the head in a single post.

    The key part is that “respect is earned.” It’s not earned by departments. It’s earned by people. One at a time.

    In my many (many) years in business I’ve seen HR people who were the stars of the executive team and others who acted like clerks and spent time whining that they didn’t get the proverbial “seat at the table.”

  2. I have to agree that it depends on the HR person in the lead HR role. I’ve been in departments where HR was initially viewed as an administrative function and a strong HR leader came in and turned it around to be a key player in operational strategy. Obviously this does not happen overnight, and sometimes is painful, involving outsourcing of certain roles, downsizing of the “clerk” type HR persons, a lot of discussions, and almost always making noise (positive and negative!) with employees and management.

    Demonstrating strategic value is what counts for any department-not just HR, and if you are not showing strategic value, you are not going to get a place at the executive table, end of story.

  3. “they won’t let me put up a cork board because it’s not standard”

    Get a white board and magnets, or just start taping things to the wall. Work around “facilities.” I don’t understand not giving staff the tools they need. I’m even for giving them tools they “want” (i.e I can’t see the need) if they get the job done. Let them determine the need. IMHO, windows are overrated. The cause glare on my computer screen and the AC/Heating system never keeps up with the sun.

    HR seems like everyone else. You have to demonstrate your value and toot your own horn. Getting to the table takes an invitation. Have you asked for one?

    HR in government situations (most of my experience) seems extra difficult. There is no bottom line and few care about cost/benefit since there is no revenue stream, just a spending stream. You end up with a lot of “clerks.”

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