Why do people hate HR?
From start-ups to conglomerates, very few people show love for a critical and important department within a company.
1. They don’t like to hear women tell them what to do. Or gay people. Or anybody who seems as if they’re in a lower socioeconomic class. Look at your company. HR is a majority-minority department. So when people say that institutional sexism (and racism and classism) isn’t a thing, I wonder why they take direction from CEOs and outside advisors but not their local HR representatives.
2. They don’t respect men who act like women. Life is a lot easier for dudes in human resources, but it’s not that much easier. Guys are still hassled and asked to explain themselves much more often than most other departments, which is why HR is often on the cutting edge of using data and analytics. It’s also why we need to be data-driven if we’re not. We can tell you why you need to make decisions, but you won’t believe us. So let us show you with manly tools like sophisticated spreadsheets and jargon-laden reports.
3. They have issues with control. It’s easier to take direction from someone in your department or division because they’re part of your tribe. You’ve built a relationship, and you trust their judgment. And it’s easy to transfer that confidence to similar work units because, for the most part, they look and act like you. They’re just trying to get the job done. But HR doesn’t look and act like you. And as hard as HR works to earn your trust, most people don’t believe what they can’t envision controlling.
4. They don’t trust themselves. Let’s be honest: if people could show up for work and behave themselves, whatever that means in a complicated world, we wouldn’t need HR. But, instead, people come to work and act selfishly. It’s ego first, team second. While it’s not your local HR lady’s job to be your mom, your boss somehow lacks the character to have a crucial conversation with you. So it falls to an external force, your human resources team, to help with corrective action and training. Instead of holding one another accountable and appealing to the highest common denominator, people resent HR instead of resenting themselves.
5. They hate thinking about other people. When you hear people complain about HR, you hear them say things like, “HR gets in the way.” It’s true that HR gets in the way, my friends. It slows people down from making horrible mistakes that affect others. If HR gets in your way, thank your lucky stars. You were probably about to do something stupid and selfish.
Why do people hate HR? Well, sometimes we hate ourselves and our behaviors but lack the language to express our personal and profound disappointment. So we transfer that anger to others, especially those who don’t have the power to fight back. Luckily, your local HR lady feels sorry for you and wants you to be the best version of yourself. So she’ll take your abuse if it means that, in the end, you turn it around and do your job better.
And here’s something you need to hear: HR might not make you happy. It might drive you crazy. But people hate HR because they see something in themselves that they don’t like.
Maybe go work on that.