Periodically we see a slate of blog posts and articles with titles like the above. Incidentally, a good way to get hits on your blog is to put inflammatory words like “hate” in the title. “Sex” works too.
Pundits, frequently without any HR knowledge, castigate an entire discipline with a few snarky comments, wipe their hands and walk away.
Not so fast. Would you put down the entire accounting profession because you don't get accounting? Write off marketing if you don't understand it? Sales? Okay: never mind the sales question.
If you want to apologetically wear the hairshirt of 'HR sucks' taking it off only long enough to roll around naked in the briar patch a la St Benedict, be my guest. I happen to love what I do.
We make a difference
- We have to interact with every part of the organization. We need to speak their language and understand their business for us to have any impact. We have to be plugged in. We don't get to choose whom we work with staying close to only those we like (or prefer): the organization is our customer.
- We have to consider the entire organization's needs when making decisions on policies and practices. Sometimes the right thing for the company to do is for a department or team to not do what they propose. HR has to say no in the right way, but be clear, we say no. Thinking organization-wide requires it. Other people have organization-wide perspectives too: they're called the C-level.
- We have to coach and counsel leaders and yet know when enough is enough. Its hard but we have to make the call when someone is no longer effective in their role, and may be damaging others. We don't make the decision to remove someone but its our job to start that conversation. That's a heady responsibility. Wimps need not apply for this role.
- We protect the company and care for its people. This seemingly trite statement is the hardest thing we do: we have two different and sometimes conflicting needs and yet, its a fundamental role we play. We need to be fair to all our constituents even while knowing life isn't always fair, or fun. We're not dealing with resources – we're working with people.
Business is the greatest drama in the world
On any given day greed, passion, desire, vision, manipulation, trust, faith and belief all manifest in the workplace. From people at their best to their worst we see it all. There's nothing more exciting than trying to bring people together under these circumstances.
Most of the HR professionals I've worked with feel the same. The expectation is that day in and day out we commit to our best knowing each day is another roller coaster ride.
And while we don't do as well as we want to every day, our commitment can't waver.
I love what we do folks.
We make a difference.