Many Myths About HR

I was once a Software Developer – debugging codes, running them, testing on target, releasing memory and those dangling pointers and then building to check how many errors are still unresolved. But it was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to connect dots and think differently. I wanted to get home from work thinking what a productive day I had – something that was as real as me writing and you reading. So, I moved to Human Resources.

A field that was chosen out of passion and interest. A field for which I left my full-time job of over thirty months and became a student again. My time was well spent – I learnt what I needed to and my mind opened up to new things. This year I completed five years in this field of my choice and I’m a happy with what I do. I can see the value that I add and I like the fact that I am learning.

Over these five years, I met many others – and I’m specifically talking about the ones who were not in HR. Some were friends, some were acquaintances and some I just happened to know. Something that was common was the myth around ‘that HR dude’ or ‘this HR lady’.

HR Folks don’t work

If HR people never work, why would an organization pay for free? Not working is not a thing of pride. Have you ever spoken to the ones who wait to get into projects? It’s not that easy as it sounds. HR folks don’t just sit in front of a computer and call it a day. They coach, they motivate, and help people do the right thing. Sometimes it hard but they do it. Sometimes, at the risk of their own jobs they do what’s right. Some unfortunate ones are mobbed and killed cos they were doing the right thing.

HR Person did not know how to help me

Possible. Isn’t it? Do you know everything about your job? The HR person could be new to the company or it could be his/her first job. We all make mistakes and sometimes we fail to deliver. May be you asked the wrong guy. May be it was not his/her area of expertise. So what if one HR person could not meet your expectations? If you don’t know a little thing in your area, is it fair to say all in your field are like that?

HR people are always arranging events

Let’s talk a little subject here. Many companies assume that engagement is equivalent to having fun at work. They forget that engagement is also career development, personal growth, opportunities to advance, monetary benefits, encouragement and a simple pat on the back. They try to equate engagement with fun activities and ask HR to play point. In many companies, arranging such activities for employees becomes a part of HR’s KRAs (Key Result Areas). Well, if you work at an organization where HR needs to organize such events, you should understand that these HR folks are just doing what they are expected to.

HR folks are always having fun

Well, HR team in most companies is a small one. They stick together and go out for breaks/lunches together like you do within your team. Cos so many people know the HR team – they tend to be seen by all and sundry. There is nothing wrong in laughing together and eating out. All that glitters is not gold and when you see them having fun, may be they are sharing a light moment after a tough day or may be it’s someone’s birthday. Don’t judge.

HR always favors the manager

HR doesn’t favor anybody. HR abides by the company values and what is right for the organization. This doesn’t stop them from ignoring the wrong doing of anybody – be a manager or an employee. The HR policies for any company are same and do not discriminate between levels.

They are in HR – they can do whatever they want

A big myth. HR is under more scrutiny than anyone else. They have to walk the talk and set examples of the right behavior. Be it dress code or any other conduct within the organization, HR like any other employee has to follow the same rules. They just cannot do what ever they want. It’s an organization and no jungle.

You are a girl, HR is the field for you

That’s one myth that annoys me the most. Men in HR have proven how great they can be. Being in HR is not an easy thing if people want to say that girls should take up the easy career option. HR is challenging and rewarding. The community is small and people know each other. Almost everyone has worked with at least one person on the team in some other organization. That’s how small it is. Perform or perish is the mantra.

 HR dresses to show off

Have you heard of the research that suggests that people who dress the next level show confidence not just with their work but their overall personality? Being presentable anywhere is a good quality and if HR people dress well, I think it’s a positive trait. After all like any other employee, they are also brand ambassadors of the organization.

You are in HR, can you help me get a job?

Yes. HR can help but know that in most companies Recruitment is a separate HR function. Recruiters are peers who are already sourcing profiles and many a times, other HR folks would not even know if the position is already closed or what stage it is in. Don’t just assume that it is in HR’s hands to find you a job. You resume has to talk of your skills and before you assume we will leverage our contacts to get you a job, understand that things are not so simple.

Personally, over these five years, I have always challenged people who talk of such myths about HR. I do that to not defend myself or my work but to explain a point of view that they must have not even thought of. I plan to continue to do the same in future. For you readers, I would say that don’t judge HR. They are there to help you and support you whenever possible. Like you, they also work to earn their living and if they were not the right talent, who would want to employ them?

Picked as a "Spicy Saturday" Read on July 4, 2015

Picked as a “Spicy Saturday” Read on July 4, 2015

52 Responses

  1. JD says:

    I hope you are into recruitment 😛

  2. I do not agree that ‘HR do not favor the managers’. All said and done, at the end of the day, all the big shots get together and make the employee the scapegoat. This is called ‘aligning’ !! So, all the leaders will ‘align’ and ‘handle’ the situation for the ‘betterness’ of the company, which is = raw deal for the employee. 😛

    • I would agree to disagree. I have personally seen companies doing what’s right versus aligning with leader. I have seen a lot to say it does depend on the culture of the company. 🙂

      • well, usually everyone (including the HR) will be hand-twisted to handle the situation in a way that’s favourable for the leader. Or, at least it will be made for everyone to look like the employee is at fault. I have seen enough to write this :).

  3. aseemrastogi2 says:

    That’s a superb post Parul. Have shared it on FB. Must say I have heard all these and more in terms of myths which HRs have to face day in and day out.

    From my experience, I have always seen that HR is a very critical function in any organization. There are so many facets to it and each of them requires a lot of hard work, dedication and commitment. All these myths are just because people actually don’t know what HR entails.

  4. Natasha says:

    Seriously girl! The challenges I face everyday because of these myths. People seriously think that HR is a easy function, that HR people have a attitude problem and they don’t know anything. Actually, there are many HR people who actually behave badly and are not suitable for this profession. I think the companies who are hiring such people are contributing more to the bad name of HR rather than the people themselves.

    • Natasha – Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      I feel sometimes actions depend on individual or their state of mind. When they are annoyed they let this seep into their words. I feel all companies want to hire great talent but fail to keep them engaged. They don’t support them enough and then it mars the image of HR. Sad but happens!

  5. Honestly working in an IT company , I used to have this notion, until my brother completed his MBA and joined as a HR 😉

    Our entire team hates HR as they never reply to emails, they even don’t bother to hear your queries. They are like puppets in front of management. But good to see that it depends from org to org and individual to individual. Wish we can have a HR like you 😀

    http://thetalesofatraveler.com/2015/06/15/chinese-new-year-open-house-2015-perak/

    • Thank you so much for saying that! Sometimes HR gets as many as 200 mails on queries all day and most of the answers are available on the intranet. I would just advise your HR to guide employees to resources if taking time out to answer each mail is not possible. HR is never a puppet but many a times they themselves do not realize this. It all depends on the top leadership. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  6. Well written, Parul. Though my experience with HR is a mixed one, but most of the times, they try to help…

  7. Nikita says:

    I like the article… and I am sure there are many more myths about HR that were not possible to address here… it is one of the most misunderstood functions in an organization. There is also an academic counterview, however, to the value of HR function in an organization. You may find it interesting. Here in the US, there are two schools of thought; one is of the HR department, much like yours, with added responsibilities, power, and value added for organization and employees, and the other is that of Labor Relations, more to do with collective bargaining rights, unionisation etc. The latter views the HR function as an insidious one to the employees. There is a huge debate here about including workers’ rights as human rights in the constitution and it is thought that HR helps an organization in violating the rights of the employees, and what is more it manipulates the employees into not even noticing that their rights are being violated. You may want to check out this link http://lawofwork.ca/?p=503 and do listen to the taped lecture.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am not endorsing the second school of thought. I just find it very interesting academically. I am sharing here as I think you may find it interesting too 🙂

  8. Well explained Parul… The illogical me is still scared of HR folks. 😛

  9. Vinitha says:

    Well written, Parul. No job is easy and HR field has its own challenges. A software professional might not be able to understand that but there you are, an ex-software engineer, busting the myths about HRs..

  10. This is a really informative post, Parul!
    Being a student of the Commerce field, I still went around believing some of the above myths.
    But now it’s all clear!
    Thanks so much! 🙂

    • Glad you feel that.. Mithila – one day you will start working and there will be times you will be frustrated but know that generalization would not be fair. There are all kinds of employees..

  11. Hi Parul, Nice to read. I did not know that you were doing coding. I am someone really passionate about moving into HR. May be you can guide me…

  12. My problem is that HR is not friendly, I thought they were supposed to be till I met my HRBP and her manager. They find it difficult to crack a smile and they don’t even have a sense of humor. How are people supposed to have fun when they look like they are not even capable of it? But ah well, that’s just my company, not HR people in general.

  13. I’m a hard core techie and I have only heard glum remarks about HR so far. About how their only work is to send mails and count. It annoys me to the core. Every one has a passion and is in a job either for it or for the money. Why judge?

  14. C'est la vie says:

    Thats a very well written post there. In the company i worked at, i had a few friends in the HR and somehow always understood that these folks really work hard. on the surface though, you said it right, it mostly does look like they’re just having fun.

  15. Kaddu says:

    I only have experience with the HR of BPO sector. And these myths certainly do seem to apply to them. They have been among the most unhelpful people I have met in my life. Plus they also have a lot of attitude problem and lack of transparency issues. As for the company policies, I fail to understand what policies there are. A person with less experience gets a better pay package because he haggles more? Make sure that the performing people don’t get promoted? Are these the policies? I agree they have a challenging job just like any of us. In fact more so probably, because they’re the ones who actually have to implement such unfair policies. I loved the events they organized at one of my previous work places though. I thought they were a really creative team in that respect.

    • Here is the thing – more than policy it is the culture that brings in transparency. And I have worked for a BPO for 4 months – they are NOT TRANSPARENT. Policies are open and clear but the culture is not..Promotion is not just HR – it’s also the business. I have seen managers putting it on HR but actually it was them who forced ranked one person over the other. I can share much more about how things work in usual companies..

  16. Rajlakshmi says:

    While working in India I have heard every one of these about HR. The general thinking is if you work late, into the midnight, that means you are working, else you don’t have work!! The attitude towards work is so different outside India. HR is just as important as any part of the company.Imagine how bad is this culture of assumptions and judgement that an HR has to explain that they too are doing work!!

  17. senK says:

    I was in the software industry long enough to find colleagues feel that the HR people had all the fun. We would be there breaking our backs till late night if needed, and they would be gone right at 1730h, not a minute longer. We would envy them a lot. And no denying, the ladies in HR, they are pretty 😛 so we teased the HR guys to no end too 🙂
    But, during the notice period, I came in touch with one of the ladies from the HR, and I was pretty much disillusioned. Their job is tough too. Agreed they dont sit and code or stare at a screen for hours at an end, but they got to hear to stuffs from simple bickering to harassment cases and what not. Plus, have a smile pasted on their faces because they are the agony aunt of the company, no matter what their personal lives are putting them through. Loved your post 🙂

  18. Being in HR for past 7 years, I can connect completely with you. Many times I heard people saying ” I also want to get into HR, you guys don’t have to work much here!!!” It is very unfortunate to see the common opinion of people. Your post completely defines what HR profession means. Loved it to the chore!!

  19. Indywrites says:

    I am from HR though I have not worked in corporate but I agree with the myths you have stated. They are true and you have dealt with them expertly! I love being a part of HR, would not choose anything else.

  20. Good one, Parul. I think it’s an ‘attitude problem’ here – to take HR people for granted. I’ve interned in HR for a few months when I first started professional work and I have a fair idea how good HR functions work. There’s a lot going on there.

  21. I have heard some of these myths and you debunked them very effectively. In my experience, human resource folks are some of the best folks you can meet. They know everybody. 🙂

  22. Akriti says:

    Very nicely and honestly written.

  23. Shilpa Garg says:

    Yes, have heard of some of these myths. It’s weird that people would have such notions/opinions about HR. I believe, being in HR is pretty challenging as you have to manage people and policies which are so dynamic in nature!

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