From ‘the firing squad’ to ‘principal’s office,’ the human resource has traditionally been subject to a gamut of buzzkill stereotypes. Historically, managers and employees have always had a fraught relationship with HR teams. Units from other departments often perceive HR as merchants of bad news. Though some organizations ignore this stereotyping as a mere rivalry between departments, various studies indicate that this type of relationship can hurt the organization. This article highlights five common HR stereotypes, their impact, and how HR stereotyping can be addressed.
The firing squad
One of the common misconceptions about HR among employees is that the human resource’s main function is to hire and fire employees. While hiring and firing are functions of the human resource, the department is responsible for many other functions in the organization. Ottomatias Peura, Chief Marketing Officer at Speechly, asserts that the department plays a central role in implementing the company’s vision.
One of the defining roles of HR teams is to safeguard employees and protect the corporates’ interests. However, in some cases, when employee actions threaten the continuity of the business, it is the mandate of HR to side with the corporate to preserve it. Because of this, the HR department is branded as the corporate enforcer or sometimes the compliance police.
One of the most demeaning perceptions about HR is that it’s the place where creativity and ingenuity go to die. Other people have even claimed that HR is for dumb people, and genuinely talented candidates would never want to be part of the HR team. Others have even declared that HR lives in the past, fear innovation, and will do anything to fight disruption.
For decades, people in the corporate space have been referring to HR as the red tape. This is because managers tend to see the human resource department as obstructionists. The HR is always responsible for delayed promotions, transitions, training, and even conflict resolution. Besides, the department is accused of setting too many rules which, according to them, are irrelevant.
Most of the HR roles involve spending resources without necessarily making money. For example, activities like skills development and talent recruitment usually require substantial budgets. However, these activities do not result in direct profits to the company. This tendency of spending money without impacting the bottom line attracted the cost center stereotype.
Human resource is one of the imperative departments in an organization. Besides this department recruiting talents that can inspire growth and profits, the department plays a vital role in providing an enabling environment for other departments to function. Also, the department ensures collaboration within the organization and optimizes business processes for optimal performance. For HR to deliver these functions, it must have a cordial relationship with other departments. This implies both managers and employees must recognize the importance of HR. Failure to do this, the company may fail to reach its maximal potential.
Though HR stereotypes are always exaggerated, experts warn that they can affect how employees respond to HR. Thus, it is noble for HR to amend its relationships with teams from other departments. Here are some of the tips to reduce stereotyping.
Invest in HR business partners
Culture Amp, a company specializing in HR issues, asserts that one of the best approaches to dealing with HR stereotyping is dedicating specific HR representatives to work closely with individual teams. The alliance between HR representatives and teams from other departments will inspire a connection between HR and other departments. This connection can help HR align its initiatives, respond to employees’ needs, and deliver high-impact functions to employees. This can help debunk stereotypes.
Give compliance context
One of the leading reasons other departments stereotype HR is its function to ensure all departments comply with organization policies and external regulations. Rather than giving vague directives, HR should give the ‘why’ behind every order. This will help other teams to see the value of those policies and regulations.
Application of relevant HR technologies can help the human resource debunk the reputation of anti-technology. Besides, right technological tools can help HR teams connect with employees and provide development services like trainings. This can help create a perception that HR is competent and actively contributing to the organization’s goals.
In a nutshell, HR stereotyping is not a new phenomenon in the workplace. Employees have historically been branding the HR names based on how they perceive them. Although stereotyping is common, studies indicate that it impacts how other teams respond to HR; hence it can cause a decline in business performance. HR can address this challenge by working closely with other teams, giving compliance contexts, and using technology to deliver value to employees.