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What are some of the bad perceptions regarding human resources departments?

Human resorces departments are crucial to corporate strategy, but are despised due to some negative perceptions from employees and other departments within the organisation. Why so much negativity towards HR?

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    Oct 24 2012: There was a time when department managers and supervisors handled everything for their direct reports. Certain duties deemed burdensome and unproductive were then transferred to specialists in hiring; firing; evaluating performance; coordinating benefits; etc. Now the folks who run the department are detached from all the things that affect their workers. The HR person is detached from the things that the "human resource", formerly known as a person, does to add value to the company. The HR function belongs in the department leader's job description. We should dance with them what brung us. People think HR-by-proxy sucks because HR-by proxy sucks.
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    Oct 25 2012: Because humans don't like to be treated as a resource.
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    Oct 25 2012: There is quite a gap in between HR lip-service and day by day experience of employees.

    I don't know how often I heared and read those 'Our people are our real capital' statements, to find out, that those 'Our people' is nothing but a volatile number on someones balance sheet.

    The goals of HR is not for the people, it is against them, whenever needed. So what other perception that it gets is expected?
  • Oct 25 2012: It is very difficult to measure performance of HR employees. Other employees will have set metrics that they are accountable for and can easily be measured and rated.
  • Oct 25 2012: Maybe, Dirty Harry was right in his assessment.
  • Oct 24 2012: "Why so much negativity towards HR?"

    They are the ones who tell 99 out of the 100 applicants that they didn't get the job, they're also the ones who fire people. Naturally that causes people to not like them. Furthermore people may have the perception (and maybe not without reason) that anyone choosing to go into the visible parts of the HR department must be less empathic than the average person. I think the biggest factor is that many, if not most employees, do not agree with the statement "human resorces departments are crucial to corporate strategy". Business administration is not a science and a handful of textbooks by a handful of authors who basically just wrote down their own opinions and whose work now drills all business students to believe in things like that statement of yours, while now that the social sciences are starting to look into business administration critically and entrepeneurs are trying out unconventional business setups we are beginning to see publications that support what many employees already suspected, namely that most businesses are top-heavy with way too much management who don't really contribute that much to the organization but do take home the biggest paychecks. The army of managers is a modern form of the priests of old who convinced everyone that their presence or their "blessings" were "crucial" to any operation.
  • Oct 24 2012: First, consider the title, Human Resources. Personally, I feel a bit of resentment at being considered a resource. I think of myself as much more than just a resource to a corporation. The flip side of that is that I do not want the corporation involved in other aspects of my life without my specific invitation. So there is an inherent tension in this relationship.

    Second, the people in the Human Resources department work for the corporation, not for me. But they insist on repeating the company line that the employees (resources) are of utmost importance to the company, then treat us like, well, resources. Less hypocrisy would help the relationship.

    Third, those folks are often not the most talented people in the corporation, yet they can have enormous influence over the lives of the most talented.

    That is all I can think of right now, but it certainly is sufficient.
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    Oct 24 2012: i would with ... HR people. i mean, i would expect some more empathy and humanistic insight and less multi-decade old blunt tools.