Human Resources is probably the one department globally that faces the brunt of rumours, biases and misunderstandings in the corporate world.
Even if you’re an HR intern or a freelancer, you would be aware and in most cases, have witnessed some of these HR misconceptions yourself by your colleagues in other departments. From being called everything from “grim reapers” to “lazy bums”, we’ve heard it all and faced the backlash enough. But not any more!
It’s about time to get these 7 HR myths busted and stand unitedly as a department to speak up on the true functions of HR professionals in any organization.
The only way it is possible to rid people of their years' long scrutiny against Human Resources is to confront them head-on about it and bust some of the most common (and deeply flawed) misconceptions on what HR teams really do in an organization’s smooth functioning. Should you long for a transparent, prejudice-free and inclusive work environment, we recommend you begin by first understanding the department who is responsible for these functions in your company!
Busting HR myths - Top 7 HR misconceptions shattered
Among the plethora of myths surrounding HR, we’ve put together a list of 7 common HR misconceptions that would give employees clarity on what Human Resources’ work really entails.
Myth #1 - HR’s job is to distract you from work
Well, clearly HR’s kindness is being taken for its weakness here. In an age where no-one at work is really bothered about you and phrases like “How are you doing?” and “Is there something I can help you with?” have become expressions of a bygone era, Human Resources is the one department that genuinely cares for the organization’s employees.
Be it a simple check-in or arranging virtual movie nights (in COVID times) or Friday evening sessions in physical offices, HR’s main agenda is solely to help you be in your element at work. Don’t you think we must cut HR some slack and treat these pleasurable activities as one that fosters better workforce connection rather than distraction?
Myth #2 - HR’s role is to build a company culture
In the list of busting HR myths, this is one of the most ridiculous misconceptions ever. You would be shocked to know that most people have a distorted conception of the term “Company culture” too! In other words, HR professionals, who are also titled “culture ambassadors” can’t ‘create’ a company culture. They can only ‘strengthen’ what is already created.
Happy hours or picnics organized by HR don’t signify organizational culture. They are just symptoms of the culture that is organically built from the bottom-up of the company. Heavily influenced by the thought processes, values and behaviours of the C-suite, the genesis of culture can be found in the way the workforce collaborates and communicates harmoniously with one another at work. To put it another way, you can’t buy a solid culture. You need to build and believe in one for it to thrive!
Myth #3 - HR reads your emails and official chats
I am not sure why this needs to be so explicitly mentioned; but turns out it does, due to such a solid HR misconception. Rest assured, unless any of us is an undercover FBI agent, Human Resources as a department does not read your private emails and one-on-one official chats on Slack, MS teams or other channels!
It’s true that we have administrative privileges to engage in such monitoring, despite not being owners of these channels. But come on, I don’t think either of us have the time to contact IT to pull up a particular thread of messages (unless there’s a very very good reason to do so). And anyways, even if it doesn’t seem all fancy from the outside, HR has better things to do than go through your personal chats!
Myth #4 - If HR is in the room, someone is getting fired
In the list of busting HR myths, this is a stigma that is deep-rooted in employees since time immemorial. In fact, we find it amusing how you associate HR with extremes - on one hand, distracting the workforce with fun-filled activities while on the other hand, firing employees on the spot. Because turns out, neither of these are wholly true!
Employee termination is just a slice of the varied functions of HR. Moreover, unless directed by the top executives, Human Resources professionals do not have the power to enforce disciplinary or discontinuation actions. In fact, in many smaller businesses, HR is so engrossed in business operations that employee terminations fall beyond their purview. So saying that there’s going to be an unpleasant conversation with the HR around, can’t get any farther than the truth!
Myth #5 - HR exists for those who don’t get to be in finance, marketing or sales
Damn, that’s intense! Firstly, bold of you to compartmentalize organizations in only these three departments. Additionally, if you’re considering HR so inferior, why not employees from these departments ensure smooth recruitment, onboarding and organizational policy compliance? Trust me, your annual savings would be terrific!
The truth is, HR exists for those who long to be efficient people professionals holistically. This includes in the front-end and behind-the-scenes. Moreover, in recent years HR niches like change management, D&I and L&D are luring people to practice the profession. Name another department which fosters a positive work environment and advocates for both the company and the employee!
Myth #6 - HR can give you a raise
To answer this HR misconception briefly, not really. Truth be told, it’s rather concerning to have people butter you up just for an increment or a promotion. Stating it loud and clear for all those reading this, HR professionals are not living and breathing pay cheques! For a start, you might be able to see slight progress if you talk to your manager about this openly.
A good HR department ought to run audits and ensure there aren’t any unlawful discrepancies between those with similar job roles and positions. It is also important to make sure that the pay aligns with the company’s overall compensation policy and adheres with the remuneration process. So, in short, help us help you get what you want by making the first move with your manager!
Myth #7 - HR's job is mostly administrative
It is true that HR requires documentation (albeit digital, with HR tech softwares like peopleHum), policies and clear procedures. But that doesn’t make its functions purely bureaucratic!
While their one role is to protect the organization by ensuring document-directed processes are followed efficiently, their other role is implementing theory to practice by making flexible working, employee engagement and remote management a breeze. And trust me, the latter is definitely more exciting and thrilling than mere paperwork!
Even if you did have these misconceptions in mind and are guilt-ridden on how you looked at Human Resources, don’t sweat it. Globally, HR has been the laughing stock of the workforce. So you aren’t the only one! But what matters is understanding the facts, busting HR myths in the future and making a positive change in your beliefs, opinions and outlook on HR.
We hope this blog helped you get a little clarity regarding HR misconceptions and facts. Last but not least, we slog every day to ensure you have an employee-centric experience at work. As advocates of human rights, we, as HR professionals, urge you to treat Human Resources too in a humane way!