Blame it on HR

I have to admit that I hate hearing friends blame bad workplace situations on their HR managers.  For issues like terminations and take-home pay, all the way to appropriate attire and workplace demeanour, HR professionals take the brunt of the blame when bad things happen.  After a situation is dealt with, these unfortunate circumstances directly affect the way human resource professionals are perceived.

What employees don’t always realize (or accept) is that human resources work is often entrenched in company policy.  I understand that people don’t like to accept that, but it’s true.  From the type of worker that is hired, the maximum allowable pay offered, to whom among a team of ten equally qualified workers will be promoted, all of these decisions are made based on choices which are made to improve the strength of the company. 

So how can HR managers become a more approachable group?  How can we be viewed as something other than the power-hungry disciplinarian or the careless dolt?  If we mingle with staff on a more frequent and genuine manner, would that make a difference?  Or would that just make employees suspicious?  How about making HR policy more transparent – although I’m sure some would argue that it’s as transparent as it could possibly be.

Every once in a while, I’ll hear the comment, “I’ve given 10 years of my life to my company, and they owe me.”  To that issue, my response is that employees need to be more accountable to their work.  They need to be aware that in order to be valuable to their employers, they need to perform to the best of their abilities and to upgrade their skills as time passes.  And although that does not guarantee that you will always keep your job or progress into a better position, it’s the only way to ensure that you’ve done all that you can do to satisfy your employer.

But as for HR … is doing our jobs to the best of our abilities the only thing that we can do to keep our customers (employers and employees) satisfied?


Geraldine Sangalang is at the beginning of her Human Resources career and is seeking her first full-time position. She volunteers with the BC HRMA, the Canadian Cancer Association and the Terry Fox Foundation.  On her private time, Geraldine loves scrapbooking, hiking, kayaking, and enjoying the company of friends on a local patio.

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