Perceptions of Human Resources [Infographic]

Admit it: You care what people think about you. It’s human nature. Whether it’s a neighbor, a new group of friends, or coworkers, people spend a lot of time curating their image and wondering how others perceive it. While we haven’t figured out what your neighbor thinks about living next to you, we can tell you what people at your organization think about HR.

Earlier this year, we asked more than 1,000 full-time, U.S.-based employees what they thought about HR at their organizations. Here are a few interesting insights we found:

1. Executives have the most positive perceptions of HR.

You’ve probably seen headlines implying executives don’t trust HR, see HR as a nuisance, or don’t feel HR deserves a seat at the leadership table (we’re guilty of writing a few of them). Well, it seems like the tides have turned, and the C-suite understands just how valuable HR is.

Across the board, executives report the most positive perceptions of their HR departments. Thanks to the knowledge and support that HR provides for the organization, the C-suite is more satisfied with HR than managers or employees are.

Speaking of employees, their perception of HR isn’t terribly positive according to our results. Here are a few things that might help change that:

2. Older employees have the least positive perceptions of HR.

It seems like HR has earned the respect of the army of millennials marching into the workplace by paying attention to their unique working style and needs. But in doing so, we may be neglecting the needs of our more veteran employees.

Our survey shows that the perception of HR declines as employee age increases, with those over 55 reporting the least positive opinions of their HR departments. Our guess is that years of bad HR practices—like ineffective performance reviews and lack of transparency—have led to distrust and a perception that HR exists merely to cover the company’s. . . .assets. Either way, older employees don’t feel as supported, don’t think HR knows as much, and don’t think HR is as effective as their younger colleagues do.

While it’s still important to consider what the majority of your workforce needs, HR should consider looking for ways to provide individualized support to different age groups of employees. Here are some ideas:

3. Organizations with highly capable HR teams have other positive employee outcomes.

This might be the best news from our survey! We knew HR had a HUGE impact on organizations, but these results make it even more undeniable.

Most employees who reported that their HR team was highly capable also felt highly engaged, satisfied with their jobs, committed to their organizations, and supported by their organizations. What’s more, they also reported that their organizations perform at a high level. While this survey shows a correlation and not a causation, it’s obvious to us that effective HR, effective employees, and effective organizations go hand in hand in hand.

By contrast, many employees at organizations with incapable HR teams reported low levels of all the same outcomes. For instance, 80 percent of employees who reported an incapable HR department also reported low levels of support from their organization.


Well, now you know what people generally think about HR, both the good and the bad. Of course, your organization’s employees likely have their own opinions about HR. Consider gathering some feedback to find areas where your HR department can improve employees’ experience at your organization, and a more positive perception will follow naturally.

To download the entire Perceptions of Human Resources infographic and survey summary, go here!