I’ll never forget the time my husband was bitching about some new HR policy at his work. It’s just another waste of time and HR is stupid and blah, blah, blah. And then the conversation went something like this:
“Well, at my company, people do not feel the same way. At my company, I am well liked. People smile when I walk in a room. They hold the door for me. They show me photos of their babies and wives. They think I am the Jesus of health insurance. And our performance review system? Second to none!” Go me!
“Meredith, let me be clear. No one likes their HR person. Not even you. You may have been popular in college, but not anymore. To them, you are the person they need to suck up to in order to keep their jobs. No. One. Likes. HR.”
Clearly my husband is an asshole, right? I mean, HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?! How did I choose a career that people hate? I am freaking popular in real life. So I went outside of the car dealership (where I practice HR – yes, believe that) and interviewed some of my non-HR friends. I asked them all why people are drinking the HR Hatorade. And here’s what I found:
- You’re so uppity. I will have you know that my hubby and I have a motorcycle, and I even once flashed the goods at a bike rally! Pfft. Uppity.
- You hire the wrong people. But how was I supposed to know that Andy would get drunk and start sexting Tina in Accounting? He passed the Wonderlic and DISC tests, and his resume was awesome. His reference said that he sold 12 cars per month at their dealership. You just cannot predict these things!
- You fire the wrong people. Hold the phone. Those people fired themselves. And I’m sure you’re talking about your buddy, Andy… but yeah, how do I tell you this? There is more to that story than you are legally allowed to know. (Ahem, sexting? Hello?)
- You reprimand people for little things and ignore the bigger issues. You’re probably right. But that little thing took me two seconds to handle. The big thing is going to jack my entire week.
- You make stupid choices. That is just so… general. Can you be more specific? And put it in writing?
- You send your emails in Comic Sans font. I agree. That is silly and unprofessional. But don’t you think it makes me look more approachable?
- Toby from the Office is a wimp and doesn’t have the balls to do the right thing. Yes, this is true. But that is television, and I am not like Toby. I happen to hate office romances.
- You know all of our secrets. True. But I pinky swear that I won’t tell anyone. Besides, I could have gone a lifetime without knowing about your reconstruction surgery.
- You make me pee in a cup. Yes, yes I do. But this all started after some of your co-workers decided it would be a good idea to ship cocaine from Florida to the dealership. I trust none of you now. You are all potentially a bunch of scummy druggies involved in some complex drug cartel.
- You assume everyone is lying to you to beat the system. Well, what can I say? Your back injury seems a little staged. I’ve heard you’ve been seen on the golf course so I’ve had to hire a private investigator to follow you around for a week.
- You’re supposed to be looking out for the well being of your employees but instead you just look out for the company. NOT TRUE! I fight for you people every day. It was me who figured out how to go self-insured so we pay less in health insurance premiums. It was me who told your boss to stop calling you Fatty-Boom-Batty. And it was me who brought back Casual Friday. Be grateful for once!
- You make us go through mandatory safety training. Yes, I do. But I want you all to go home at night with 10 fingers and 10 toes. Also, we totally get a huge discount on our Workers Comp premiums for that which means more money in the bonus pool. Hello?!
The list could go on. And on. But maybe, just maybe if we all join together and refuse to act like a collective group of idiots, we could cut back on some of these gripes and become the department that employees drink beer with after work. Of course, we would never allow that because we are HR, and it probably violates some policy we wrote about fraternizing… but, hey, it’s the thought that counts.
Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.