… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

HR is not a cult

Look, I get it. HR can seem quite mysterious. We have closed door meetings, acronyms, keep to ourselves, and the motivation behind a lot of what we do isn’t readily apparent. It’s the nature of the work. We can’t talk about what we do or we would violate confidentiality and when employees only see us during the bad times, why would they think anything we did was positive? Not to mention that many people assume our work is just common sense, so why do they even need us in the first place? There must be some kind of conspiracy going on, right? But let me just make one thing clear: HR is NOT a cult.

An artists rendering of a secret HR meeting

We don’t have special rings or embroidered robes. No secret club houses or pawns in the government helping us control the world from the shadows. Hell, we don’t even have a secret handshake. Now, I know I go on and on (and on) about being a minion and alluding to the eternal battle between good and evil. But in all seriousness, HR is not some secret club that only takes care of it’s members. You don’t need to know any special code words or secret information for us to help you. And we most certainly aren’t spending our days plotting against you or cheerfully adding names to our blacklists. We aren’t out to get you.

Ok, most of us don't

But I do understand why people don’t trust HR. It comes from their feelings of helplessness, frustration, confusion, and fear. And it’s not just the layoffs or disciplinary meetings. People are out of work and are afraid they can’t get anything else. To them, HR seems like a wall; the wall between them and their livelihood. Is it any wonder then that people think they need to somehow break this “HR Code” in order to get anywhere with us? That they are only one secret handshake away from learning the inner workings of how we “really” operate? It’s a skewed perception of HR (to put it mildly) but for them it becomes their reality.

Dude, if only things were so simple. If all people needed was a secret password I would not still be unemployed. I mean, I can’t be more in with this HR crowd, I have letters after my name and everything. If HR was a cult you know I’d be at those meetings chanting mindlessly with the best of them. So what is to be done? For one, HR needs to be better about not only being more accessible to employees and candidates, they need to be better at communicating as clearly and completely as they can. And as for you, conspiracy fan, let go of this self-destructive thinking. realize that you need to stop chasing shadows, and focus more on what you need to do and less on who is trying to keep you down.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I still have to go pack for a secret “wink wink” going down this weekend in Chicago and my best robe still needs to be dry cleaned. I better practice our anthem as well! It always trips me up, especially that part about robbing cave fish of their sight. What’s that about?

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

6 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Robin S :

    Fun post Shauna with an important message. And sad to say (or is it a sign of coolness?) I DO know all the words to the Stonecutters song.

  • 2 The Recruiters Lounge » The Week In Recruiting (Reading the blogs, so you don’t have to…) :

    […] Strategies of Successful HR Executives 2. HR is not a cult 3. And We Wonder Why HR Gets A Bad Rap? 4. HR Guide to Hiring Felons 5. Why Does […]

  • 3 adowling :

    You don’t know the secret handshake? Oh….this is awkward. Um…so how about that trip to Chicago?

  • 4 Shauna :

    Robin – I think knowing all the words to the Stonecutter’s song makes you awesome! 🙂

    April – Hey now, as my #BFF I think you are honor bound to tell me.

  • 5 JP Winker :

    My feeling is that HR isn’t trusted because they are in position to do great things, but don’t. The function focuses on administrative work and keeping the company out of legal trouble instead of developing human capital as a competitive advantage. The opportunity is to transform a workforce, but we settle for supporting management in the most trivial ways.

  • 6 Shauna :

    JP Winkler – Very good point! I think a lot of HR departments hide behind administrative functions and being “too busy” as excuses for not doing more.