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Debunking & Addressing 3 Common Myths About HR

August 21, 2023

By Megan Flasch

HR, Myths

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Most people often have a skewed perception of what Human Resources is or what they do, either from TV shows, movies, or former employees who were let go. These falsities not only make their jobs harder, but hurt the organization as a whole. Let’s explore three common misconceptions and discover the truth behind HR’s role in organizations.

Myth 1: HR exists to make employees jobs harder

Unfortunately, many people think HR’s only task is to burden them with administrative tasks and other unnecessary work, which is the farthest from the truth. Just because HR is in the room does not mean that someone is about to be fired or they are going to put someone under performance review; that’s just one unfortunate component of their job. HR is very multi-faceted in its duties and tasks, but many times people only remember the negative interactions instead of all the good that they do too. For instance, HR is usually the one to take initiatives forward for DEAI to help instill a culture of inclusivity in an organization. They also do things like make sure employees know about mental health resources available to them, work with insurance providers to make sure you’re taken care of , just to name a few. It is people that make up a Human Resources Department, not rule-oriented, paperwork-junky robots who exist only to make your job harder.

Myth 2: HR always takes the side of the company over the employees

I can speak from experience, coming into Quatrro as a new intern with predisposed notions of what HR is, and the reality I found was very different from my expectations. I saw and heard them talk about employee welfare all the time and often take the time to ask questions to get to know them better, so they could better advocate for the employees in the future. There were so many more decisions and debates that go through Human Resources than I ever realized, and I can vouch from experience sitting in on calls during my internship with them that they don’t make a single decision without thinking of how it would affect an employee, their family, and their future. If Quatrro’s HR team thinks a new policy or insurance plan is not the best version it can be to benefit its employees, they will go back to the drawing board until they feel they did everything they can to make it the best option possible for their employees. People think HR chooses the company over employees, but employees are the company; it’s not one or the other, they are synonymous.

Myth 3: HR plays a small role in the overall functioning of a company, they just enforce rules and fire people

Again, this is simply not true. HR might have been a small component of companies many years ago, but today they are the silent superheroes of the business world. They used to be thought of as merely a personnel department, but today they have a proper seat at the table for strategic conversations when it comes to growing and advancing companies. HR hires new talent that fits company culture, creates programs that make everyone feel included and engaged, negotiates the best insurance plan options so families can have great healthcare, and so much more. Although HR is usually a smaller department within a company, they help orchestrate so many moving parts that keep a company moving swiftly and without disruption – and most times employees don’t even realize how HR played a part.

Addressing the Myths

ENow that we have talked about some of the common misconceptions around Human Resources and what role they play in companies, let’s dive into some ideas on how HR teams can address these common problems:

Get to know employees

the more an HR team knows about the company employees, the better they can advocate for them and the more efficient they will be executing some of their regular tasks because they know specifically who they are doing it for.

Be proactive

HR isn’t a department that can just wait until a problem arises, by then it’s already too late. Staying focused on being proactive will keep things moving smoothly, both from an employee standpoint as well as a company standpoint.

Always ask questions

Always focus on staying informed. Whether it’s about current labor laws or how an employee’s weekend went, the better informed an HR team is the better prepared they are to do their job effectively.

If you’re not excited, they’re not excited

Of course, not every policy, training, or presentation is going to be thrilling and have employees on the edge of their seats, but, if You’re bored so are they. Instill fun and make things engaging wherever you can to make employee interactions with HR positive experiences, too.

Don’t become a professional robot

Even though a part of HR’s job is making and following rules, don’t forget to be empathetic and understanding of everyone’s situation. Human Resources has the word human in it for a reason.

Adjust with the times

Things are constantly changing in the world, just because one strategy used to work brilliantly at one point in time with employees doesn’t mean it will work today. Stay attuned to when you need to adjust and adapt with your employees.

Connect with department leaders

As a department that is able to see the organizational bigger picture, the better connected you are with other department leaders, the better informed you will be and able to work with all area leaders as allies. Additionally, when those leaders then talk with their employees about their positive interactions with HR, that will help to further breaking down the HR stereotypes across the organization.
In conclusion, it is crucial to dispel the common misconceptions surrounding Human Resources and understand the vital role they play within organizations. HR professionals are not here to make employees’ lives harder or prioritize the company’s interests over the employees’. They are multi-faceted individuals who work tirelessly to ensure fairness, advocate for employees, and contribute to the overall success of the company. HR is integral in creating a positive work environment, furthering initiatives for diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion, and providing essential support for employees and their families. By debunking and positively addressing these misconceptions, we can appreciate the value HR brings to organizations and foster better relationships between employees and HR teams. This is how organizations can collectively create a more informed and supportive work environment for all.

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