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

HR Doesn’t Do

HR, well, we often are either the scapegoats or bogey men of organizations. Now, now, this isn’t another “Oh no people don’t like HR!” post. Consider this instead as a public service announcement.



Let me be clear: HR doesn’t do.

You know that promotion you wanted? Well, when your manager told you that they wanted to promote you but HR wouldn’t let them, they were lying to you. HR doesn’t do that.

You know how you are convinced the only reason you got written up for being late 5 times last week was because HR hates you since you know your Manager understands and would never do that? Yeah, no. HR doesn’t do that.

You know how you are sure you would have gotten that job offer if only HR hadn’t gotten in the way? Well, you would be wrong there too. HR doesn’t do that.

Well, you might be asking yourself, what does HR do? HR advises, audits, counsels, organizes, and executes decisions made by management. See that emphasis on that last part? HR doesn’t make decisions, management does. But given the way some people talk about HR, you’d think we ran companies, instead of support them.

I know it’s easy to want to find someone to blame. And HR is a natural target. We have closed door meetings, are always there when something bad is happening, and are always talking about risk and compliance. Ironically, for as much as everyone thinks they know what HR does, the truth is they don’t know anything at all, which is why we make the perfect one to blame.

Part of that is HR’s fault. We need to be more present and open whenever we can. We need to push back on weak managers who find it easier to perpetuate these negative stereotypes instead of being upfront with their employees. But mostly, HR needs to start telling a better story, our story, instead of letting others tell it for us.

But part of the blame lays with employees as well. Instead of sitting around blaming something you don’t understand, why not take control of your career and ask? You should never feel that you cannot ask HR questions. That is why we are there because supporting both management and employees is what we do.

Now, if the answer to your question is confidential, we won’t be able to answer you, but a lot of the time we can. The best way to break down stereotypes is to purposefully challenge them. I think you’ll find that HR isn’t as scary, mysterious, or apparently vindictive as some might think. We’re actually pretty helpful and nice. So come visit us and maybe bring some cookies. We love cookies.

5 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Another Evil HR Director :

    Is there a “like” button here somewhere?! Excellent article, well said and brava!

  • 2 Best of the HR Blogs September 2013: 18 great HR blog posts from September 2013 | XpertHR - Employment Intelligence :

    […] Shauna Moerke: HR Doesn’t Do Why is management so often keen to pass the blame for their less popular decisions onto HR? Why, indeed, is HR such “a natural target” for such blame? And where does the blame for such perceptions of HR really lie? Shauna asks and answers each of these questions in a very direct manner. She also invites you to share a cookie with HR. I’m in! Follow Shauna on Twitter. […]

  • 3 Shauna :

    Another Evil HR Director – Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  • 4 JB :

    I have to respectfully disagree here with many of these points. I think it depends upon the culture of the organization regarding the influence that HR does or doesn’t have in certain decisions. I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum and in some cases, yes HR has to sign off on all the above mentioned items and has veto power as well. It isn’t always a staff employee expressing these findings, but oftentimes is a manager who was in this position and speaks from personal experience. Don’t mislead please. It’s not always “a person not taking charge of their career” and it’s childish to make it that personal.

  • 5 Shauna :

    JB- Thanks for the comment. I would say that it is a rare organiation indeed where HR can tell executives or managers no if they really want to do something. I’m sorry if you misconstrued what i was trying to say about people taking ownership of their careers. I wasnt trying to cast aspersions. But i have seen many employees and managers alike not ask questions or speak up when they were confused and instead just relied on false assumptions. All i meant was that everyone owes it to themselves to speak up in those moments it ensure they know what is going on.