At some point during my professional career, I was informed that the human resources manager at the company that employed me was someone who had no previous background in human resources. She had apparently been offered that role because she was on friendly terms with the person who was put in charge of the company.
The more I work with HR people, the more convinced I have become this is more of the norm rather than the exception. What I have noticed with HR professionals is that they seem to be either people with some experience but a lack of motivation, or they are kids right out of college who are working their first real job. It’s like HR has become the dumping place for incompetence and nepotism.
The problem I have with this is that there is way too much importance in the work of the HR department for it to be treated as a secondary level job. There are companies out there making millions of dollars offering HR services. They are necessary.
I handled some HR duties at previous stops and I can tell you the work involved is significant. You have to be good with people and recognizing who would make a good employee. You have to stay on top of laws and policies affecting employees. You have to know all about the ongoing changes involving health care. You are in charge of payroll. Sometimes purchasing. You are typically in charge of enforcement of company rules. There is a lot going on for people who work in HR.
Knowing this makes it tough to swallow for those of us who have endured frustration with HR people we have worked with on various projects or jobs. Needing work from a first-time employee whose interests are more focused on Snapchat or Facebook than taking care of your requests can be a real problem. And who hasn’t tried to get some documents from a disgruntled employee who is in no rush to help? It is a real problem and shouldn’t be dismissed as nothing.
The HR manager I mentioned earlier was actually a very effective employee. Whether or not people felt she earned the job, she did good work based on what I perceived. However, it is indicative of a process for hiring those who control the daily workings of the company. It is something we should take more seriously because human resources is far too important to hand off to someone who just doesn’t know what they are doing or just doesn’t care. As a business owner, I can promise you it is vitally important.