After starting in recruiting I worked my way to Account Management which heavily involves handling employee relations issues. Despite not having the formal title, I have been an HR Professional for more than 5 years in the staffing industry. In this time I have realized something; HR is wildly misunderstood.
When I say wildly misunderstood I mean that we are a group that can be hated and appreciated, helpful and destructive all in a day’s work. I guess it just depends on the day . . .
Our main responsibility is to protect the company against risk by knowing and understanding laws related to employment. These laws change constantly, and frankly aren’t straight forward, but there to prevent discrimination, pay inequality, and safety. Other responsibilities of an HR professional include hiring, training, benefits, workers comp and overall employee satisfaction. Now, some are specialized and work for large enough companies where they can focus on one area of HR but this is not always the case.
Let’s be honest, all of the above can be found on any HR related job description. What makes an HR professional so special are the things you don’t see. You’ll never see the metrics. The number of employees who come to HR on a DAILY basis, the number of questions HR answers, the number of concerns they listen too, or the amount of fires they put out. However, there is a reason you don’t see all these things and it’s because you shouldn’t.
Part of protecting the company against risk includes confidentiality. There are laws in place that prevents us from disclosing personal information, health included, to just anyone but HR really goes above and beyond these laws. Despite the list above, HR has a responsibility to the people within in organization and a job to do what’s best for you.
When there is good news, promotions or goals hit, others outside of HR openly offer their services to make the announcement. When it comes to bad news no one can be found, except HR. We get a bad rap because 8 out or 10 times we are made responsible for delivering bad news. Knowing you are about to negatively impact a person’s life is a tough pill to swallow so it truly takes a special person to handle those situations delicately and privately. HR puts a great deal of thought and time into those instances because even if we have to deliver bad news any light we can shed we will. We know it’s difficult to see the light most times so we don’t indulge ourselves in how we tried to make this better for you. We can only hope that we’re able to make it a little easier.
So most of you may view HR as the bearers of bad news but the truth is we are the good guys and we are only here to help.