7 Hard Truths HR Must Learn To Accept

In a perfect world we all get a seat at the table,  all of our employees go online and fill out their open enrollment forms on time, and all of our hiring manager give us immediate feedback on each candidate resume we send them.  Unfortunately, none of us live in a perfect world, there are some hard and fast truths in our profession that we have to accept, and by accepting those truths, it allows us to let go and move on with trying to better our organizations each day.

Accepting these truths doesn’t mean we are giving up, and not trying to change our profession, our organizations and ourselves for the better.  Accepting these truths gives us permission to accept our reality, and it allows us to work towards, little-by-little, making the HR profession better.

Here are the 7 Hard Truths HR Must Learn To Accept:

#1 – Focusing on compliance, will never allow you to become strategic.  Operations in our organizations have long known this, and this alone allows them to control most of the decision making power in your organization.  A compliance focused department, will never be innovative, it will never creative, it will never be Strategic.

#2 – Your Performance Management system, will not fix everything.  In fact no system or process will fix everything – we drive a people business – thus we deal with a very nebulous product – people.  As soon as you create a process or implement a system, some hiring manager or employee will find a way to find a flaw in it. It’s OK not to be perfect.

#3 – You’ll never get all the resources you need to do the job you want to do.  People are your most important asset, but shareholders/stakeholders need a return on investment.  Thus, resources are always going to first go to where that return is highest, and sorry but HR isn’t first on the list.

#4 – Your companies Deepest Secrets are only a Tweet away. And your social media policy and lock down of social media sites isn’t going to stop these secrets from getting out, if you have a rogue employee who wants to get them out.  This is similar to the reality of you will probably more likely die on your way to work in a traffic accident, then in a plane crash on your way to vacation – but we tend to worry more about the plane crash.

#5 – Your employees and managers will never fully support themselves on Self-Service Modules. It’s a dream, sold to you by software vendors, and you buy into it because you hate dealing with the daily administration of HR.  No matter what, we’ll always have some of this to do – it also, is OK, it’s not what we do all day, every day – no job is perfect.  Pull up your big boy pants and help them out – you’ll live.

#6 –Fraternization will always happen.  We manage adults (even if they don’t act like adults), and until the end of time adults, put in close proximity of each other, will eventually be attracted – blame G*d, blame laws of the universe, blame your parents – I don’t care.  It’s a fact – deal with it.

#7 – You’ll Never get the full respect you deserve.  This is a function of organizational dynamics.  HR doesn’t make the money, operations makes the money – respect will be given to those who actually keep the doors open and the lights on.  If you got into HR for your deep need for respect, sorry, you picked the wrong career.  On the plus side, we get a lot of conference room cookie leftovers!


3 thoughts on “7 Hard Truths HR Must Learn To Accept

  1. Hello Mr Sackett,
    I am a non-HR non-Sales cost factor in a large international corporation. One of our HR colleagues posted your blog entry and I must say
    I didn’t find a lot of things typical of HR in this article. In other areas we also face the same types of frustrations and challenges. This article, plus others in this blog, disappoint me in their lack of positive attitude towards HRs role in a company. I question the use of the term respect : those who take risks negotiating contracts and making money may earn more money (% signings) BUT money and respect are not the same thing : HOW they negotiated and what human respect was integrally part of their way of negotiating and “teaming to win” will have a lot more to do with what respect they earned from their client and colleagues. (You don’t get respect without giving it first). I would also argue that if the nebulous products HR manages are often less adult than expected maybe this very attitude (a bit condescending I feel as an adult nebulous product!) can be questioned to understand the causes (are your kids teenagers yet??? its a learning period! letting go parental control to foster partnership). I would urge you to have a chat with Isaac Getz (See Liberate your company https://ibm.biz/BdxPeV) to see how to bring more innovation to what HR may be all about.

    Yours sincerely,
    A realistic cost factor who despite 25 years work experience refuses to give up on basic human value and values!

  2. Amen, Diane & guy that wrote this! It’s about creating a culture that works with the “real world”. On the flip side, it’s a rare group that can do this so you’re more sought over

  3. I’m with you most of the way but I think point 7 is conditional – HR does not get the respect it craves because most of the time it does not deserve it – we appear as policeman, blockers or perfectionists who do not understand the real world that everyone else has to deal with. When we can get over our sanctimonious belief that we are the guardians of best practice and get down and dirty with those we are trying to help, respect does come. It is just a shame that so few practitioners recognise their own shortcomings and while this is the case, respect will always remain a pipedream.

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