I have met some really wonderful, expert HR professionals in my time. They know their stuff. They are trusted and respected by the whole organisation. They are also in the minority.
Sadly there are too many of a different kind.
They are usually savvy when it comes to process. Many are idealistic about their value to and role in the organisation. Most of them think they are people experts, but they are not. They are expert in processing people – that’s very different.
I’d hate to be processed by a people processor!
I imagine a giant HR sausage machine shaving all the unique bits from everyone so they are clone-like when they come out the other end. One size fits all. Classic systems thinking!
But people aren’t systems. We are organic emotion driven complexities, who seek joy and a sense of worthiness.
Many people in many organisations have come to dislike or minimise HR.
I see the evidence in the dreaded performance management system administered by HR police.
I see the frustration of the line manager seeking HR help to reform or remove the underperformer or misbehaver, only to be told to “talk more” with the offender. Not even so much as a “how to talk”!
I see the wielding of an authority that they don’t deserve or earn, given to them by disengaged leaders.
I see avoidance of dealing with the difficulties of broken relationships within the organisation.
I see them pursuing their own agenda instead of the organisation’s vision – though they are not alone in that pursuit.
Perhaps it explains why they rarely become CEO’s?
Yet they too, like all of us, have greatness in their DNA.
Their solution lies in overcoming their fears, establishing better habits and resolving their embedded ignorance about what matters most. And in that they are no different from the rest of us.
What’s been your experience with HR?