Human Resources: What’s The Focus?

05.09.19Baylee Olsen

We often talk about how HR is helpful and necessary inside just about every company.

We know that they provide important documents in onboarding, handle employee complaints and help maintain a great culture and environment. And we also know, culture is increasingly important in 2019.

But how much is too much?

Our fearless leader talked about this in her recent response on Quora. Check out her answer to:

What should you never do as a human resources manager?

I have come across many managers and employees in companies who feel that human resources people are just the ‘party planners’.

I blame human resources employees for that.

In my career, I have learned that the human resources department is treated the way they consciously or subconsciously ask to be treated.

Some of the things that I think human resources people do to reinforce unhelpful stereotypes of themselves are:

Focusing too much on planning parties – You know those HR people! Their main interaction with employees is when they bring in donuts, organize a baby shower, plan a retirement party or are in charge of the annual Holiday party. While these can be important morale boosters, they should not be the only thing that HR is known for.

Not being Objective – An HR person whose first thought without any evidence is either the managers are always right or the employees are always right is a danger to the organization.

Being the Office Gossip – I have worked with HR people who have an excessive need to be liked and they build relationships by sharing juicy gossip even if potentially violates confidentiality.

Acting as the HR Police – While compliance is an important part of HR, constantly pointing a finger and saying “ You can’t do that” without providing any rationale or guidance does not help the organizations’ understanding of why we do what we do.

Not understanding the big picture – HR professionals need to understand the business, its clients and yes, even the financials of the company to be able to contribute in a strategic way.

I have worked in different types of HR cultures but the one to me that is most effective is when HR is known as a department that is multi-talented and multi-functional.

If those in the human resources department don’t act like professionals, they will not be treated as a department that can strategically help the business to continue to be successful.

For my opinion on the most important qualities in a Human Resources professional check out my answer to this question: What is the most important quality for someone in human resources (HR) to have?