Why Do Employees Hate HR?

Why Do Employees Hate HR?

To shed light on the often contentious relationship between HR and other departments, we asked eight business leaders and owners to share their insights. From HR’s Bureaucracy hindering operational goals to HR’s perceived lack of transparency, these leaders provide a comprehensive understanding of why HR is typically the most disliked department in an organization.

  • HR’s Bureaucracy Hinders Operational Goals
  • Perceived as the “Department of No”
  • Enforcing Policies Creates Employee Discontent
  • Negative Perception from Disciplinary Actions
  • HR’s Reputation as a Tattle-Tale
  • Poor Communication from HR
  • Frustration with HR’s Hiring Process
  • HR’s Perceived Lack of Transparency

HR’s Bureaucracy Hinders Operational Goals

While HR performs an essential role for our organization, they are often out of touch with operations. Their strict adherence to bureaucratic processes prevents operationally-focused departments from hitting their goals in a timely manner. The perception is that they are so absorbed in process and business rules that they “can’t see the forest for the trees.”

When attempting to hire a new employee, they are often fully unqualified to judge an applicant’s potential value to the organization, yet they serve as a first-line candidate screener. The result is that well-qualified applicants often don’t make it in front of the hiring authority because HR doesn’t understand what constitutes a good candidate.

Mike KravitzMike Kravitz
Air National Guard Munitions and Armaments Branch Chief

Perceived as the “Department of No”

Unfortunately, HR gets a bad rep as the “department of no.” In organizations that don’t value their HR, the department truly is seen as raining on the parade of the things that other departments want to do. HR has for years been seen as a “necessary evil” in some organizations, and this needs to change.

HR leaders don’t like being party planners or office supply orderers. We would much rather be seen as partnering with your line managers to build stronger staff, growing skills, and sharing in the successes of growth within the organization. People are the backbone of most organizations, and HR needs to be treated as the ones who foster that sense within the organization for people to grow.

Ben MaddenBen Madden
Owner, HR Action LLC

Enforcing Policies Creates Employee Discontent

Due to their role in enforcing policies and regulations, HR departments often find themselves in the crosshairs of employee discontent. This is mainly because they’re tasked with wielding the rulebook and playing referee when it comes to organizational policies and regulations.

HR often handles employee discipline, compliance, and policy enforcement issues, which can create friction and tension. This is especially true when employees perceive these actions as overly bureaucratic or rigid. However, it’s not uncommon for some employees to push boundaries with their antics, leading to consequences administered by HR. This delicate balance can sometimes cast HR as the bearer of unwelcome news in employees’ eyes.

It must be remembered that all policies, regulations, and the discipline that comes with them are necessary for the organization’s overall functioning and legal compliance. Their enforcement can sometimes lead to negative perceptions of HR as the enforcer rather than a supportive function.

Nina PaczkaNina Paczka
Community Manager, Resume Now

Negative Perception from Disciplinary Actions

One reason can be that they are often viewed as the “bad guys” because they are responsible for enforcing company policies, handling disciplinary actions, and conducting layoffs or terminations. This can lead to negative perceptions, even though they are performing necessary tasks for the organization.

Ramona JarRamona Jar
Founder, The All Finance

HR’s Reputation as a Tattle-Tale

HR is often associated with tattle-telling. It isn’t viewed by most employees as a protective entity. Instead, it’s seen as a mechanism to report them and get them in trouble. That’s why it’s crucial to regularly remind employees that HR is there for them, to assist with benefits, tax withholdings, or to listen to any issues they may have. HR is beneficial, but it needs to be presented in that light.

Christopher OlsonChristopher Olson
CFO, Surfside Services

Poor Communication from HR

One of the most common reasons why HR is so disliked in organizations is that they are often seen as a source of poor communication. In many cases, employees feel like their concerns and issues are not being heard by HR, or that they are not given enough information to make effective decisions about their job. Additionally, staff may also feel that their grievances do not get taken seriously by HR and that their complaints are not addressed in a timely manner. This can lead to frustration and animosity between employees and the HR department.

Keith SantKeith Sant
Founder and CEO, Sell My House Company

Frustration with HR’s Hiring Process

Due to the delay in the hiring process, the HR department is often disliked within the organization. When there are delays or unclear communication during hiring, both current employees looking to grow and external job seekers can become frustrated. They may even think of the HR department as biased, promoting only their favorites.

Rick ElmoreRick Elmore
CEO, Simply Noted

HR’s Perceived Lack of Transparency

The HR department often bears the brunt of dissatisfaction within an organization, primarily stemming from a perceived lack of transparency. It can be difficult for employees to get a clear understanding of what decisions are being made and why, or how their career path may be impacted by certain changes in policy.

Employees feel like they don’t have control over their own careers or futures when they don’t understand what is going on in the HR department, and this can lead to frustration and apathy. Additionally, a lack of transparency can make it difficult for an organization to retain its top talent if employees feel like their interests are not being taken into consideration.

Sarah MomsenSarah Momsen
Member and CTO, Eazy House Sale

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