Three Misconceptions About Your Company’s HR Professionals

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Three Misconceptions About Your Company’s HR Professionals

Reblogged from The Huffington Post

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There are numerous misconceptions about the human resources function. Many employees do not fully understand the obligations, influence and benefits of HR professionals. I know this firsthand, because throughout my career, I have been in situations where I had to make unpopular choices for the greater good. Here are three of the most frequent misconceptions about HR professionals that would be good for all employees to know.

Misconception 1: HR is a sounding board for employees.

As HR professionals, we are ethically obligated to follow up on complaints or issues when they are brought to our attention. Many times, employees come to us to vent or share a frustration in confidence. While we will try to help, our obligations are to the employee and the employer. That means, we are not bound to confidentiality and unfortunately, we are not allowed to passively listen. We understand and empathize with your fear of risking your job or retaliation and we will reiterate that bringing forth a legitimate complaint is protected under federal law. Just as employees have a protected right to come forward with a complaint, we have a responsibility to take action on the complaint. HR cannot sit idly by if you complain of inappropriate workplace behavior. If you seek HR’s help, we cannot (and should not) keep it confidential. However, we will protect your confidence to the best of our ability and only share the information with those that “need to Professionals

Misconception 2: HR only has the company’s best interest in mind.

While we would love to just be a sounding board for you, it is helpful for you to understand HR professional’s true function. Some employees will believe HR only has the best interest of the company in mind. I disagree. HR straddles a fine line between ensuring compliance and guarding the best interest of all parties. Many HR professionals have stories of managers who wanted to terminate or demote employees without having proper conversations with the employee first. Our role in these circumstances is to make sure the employee receives a fair chance while at the same time, the company makes a smart decision and mitigates any risk. Typically, an employee will never know this happened, because it usually happens behind the scenes and the employee will never learn of these discussions taking place. In the best case scenario, an employee is made aware they are not meeting the expectations of the role and they manage to turn things around. In the worst case, the employee (after failing to turn things around) loses their job. Our job is to make sure the employee has a chance to address performance issues, while the employer complies with relevant laws and regulations while considering past practices.

Misconception 3: HR can help you negotiate

You always have a friend in HR. But your company’s HR person cannot tell you how much of a raise to ask for or how much severance pay you should receive. This is essentially asking for private information about other employees and puts the HR contact in an awkward position. However, behind the scenes, we review pay equity, promotional opportunities, policy development and adherence to policy and past practice. These efforts are to provide a fair opportunity for all, even if it is not visible to the employee. Remember, if you have specific concerns about your pay we can investigate them as we would any complaint.

HR professionals can be a thankless job, hopefully this will help you better understand the role of HR Professional within a company and prevent disappointment or misunderstanding.


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About Author

Scott Rosen

Want to know why 90% of the NJ, NY, DE and PA companies who work with us for their HR staffing needs (including Merck, Rutgers, PNC Bank, Daimer-Chrysler, Pfizer, SAP America and 150+ others) either re-hire our firm or refer us? We specialize exclusively in the Direct-Hire and Contract Placement of Human Resources Professionals including EVP of HR, VP of HR, Human Resources Manager, Compensation Manager, HR Generalist, Benefits Manager & Training Managers. The Rosen Group is one of very few firms in the NJ, NY, PA, and DE area that focuses on one, single area all day, every day – Recruiting and assessing HR talent! Our low-volume (2-3 positions filled per week, 8-12 per month and 100 per year), highly-consultative “super-niche” approach means that I will send you the right candidates – the first time (and typically within 1 week). For example 98% of our HR contractors complete their assignments, 50% are extended and 30% to 40% receive permanent offers! We’re giving Fortune 500 companies, SMBs and nonprofit organizations access to the best and brightest HR candidates. We have a database of thousands of HR executives with a wide range of experience, expertise and talent at all levels all the way up to the VP HR level. Plus we use social media and employment branding strategies to get your opportunities in front of top candidates. We're committed to the professional growth and development of the HR executives that we place for clients. That’s why I founded the HR Executive Alliance and the Talent Acquisition Leadership Alliance and have created the HR Department of the Year Awards. Maybe this is why the Rosen Group is one of the Inc 500 Fastest Growing Companies (Number 147!) – and why 90% of our clients refers us or rehire us.