Opinions of human resources departments are rarely lukewarm. In fact, they’re typically pretty polarizing. Love us or hate us, human resources has the ability to make a big difference at work and sometimes requires us to do difficult things. But everyone wants to be liked. An infographic created by by SAP illustrated the top 10 things employees say they love and hate about HR. Here are the top five reasons some employees say they don’t like us, and how we can change their opinion:
1. Gatekeepers: 30 percent of employees complain that HR simply does not approve important requests. It’s difficult to keep everyone happy when you’re the middle man. Sometimes it’s not your fault when things don’t get approved, but you sometimes get blamed. You can avoid getting pinned with the blame by having a defined and transparent workflow. If employees and managers can make requests from you and see the precise approval process required (including who besides HR is involved), you won’t get stuck with the blame.
2. Out to Lunch: 30 percent perceive HR to be a lazy group. Ouch. I doubt there are many truly lazy human resources professionals out there. It’s probably more likely that employees just don’t see everything we do. Let’s change that. Not so we can get recognition, but so employees can feel the influence we have in their lives. Actually, we should make it easy for all employees to see the impact of every department in the company. A great way to do this is through company updates. Our company meets once a month and people from the different departments get up each time to update the company on their team’s initiatives.
3. Accident Prone: 15 percent think HR makes too many mistakes that need correcting. To be fair, every HR professional has likely made a mistake or two in their career. But that’s definitely not limited to HR. The difference is that our mistakes affect people in a more tangible way. There are a couple of things we can do about this perception. First of all, you’ll make fewer mistakes if you have an accurate record to go back to. Using a cloud-based system where changes are saved and tracked is important. Also, have an accountability system for when mistakes do happen. At BambooHR, we call them “oops” emails. Whenever someone in the company makes a pretty big mistake, they email the entire company to let them know what happened and how they’ll ensure it won’t happen again. We don’t do it to humiliate or punish anyone. Rather, it’s to help people be accountable and open. There’s no reason to try to sweep big problems under the rug. Mistakes happen to everyone.
4. Caught in the Red Tape: 15 percent say that HR is tied up with corporate policies and inaction. Actually, HR professionals may agree with this one—and they probably don’t like it any more than employees do. So what can we do about it? ADVOCATE! Advocate for your abilities and your department. Help executives understand how the red tape is frustrating for HR, managers, and employees.
5. Running at a Snail’s Pace: 10 percent say HR is not keeping up with the new speed of business. Again, this may or may not be true. If it is, it’s probably not by choice. Yes, business is moving faster, and businesses are getting new technology in order to enable them to move more quickly. HR gets bogged down in all the operational tasks they’re in charge of (time-off, workflows, employee data, etc.) which makes it difficult to run quickly and strategically. Give HR the technology they need, and they’ll be able to push businesses to even increased speeds.
In many ways, we are a misunderstood department. But we can change those perceptions. Don’t worry, there are tons of things employees love about HR too. Check out the rest of SAP’s infographic to see what your employees love about you.