This week’s newsletter is going to be longer than usual as today we're going to talk about some HR myths that I want to dispel and actually, some of those myths are actually kind of true. One myth out there is that HR is a substitute for communicating with your colleagues. So many times in HR someone will come to us and say, my fellow employee has done this or done that or this person's breath stinks or this person is annoying. As HR the first question we ask is did you tell the person? Usually, they say no. Then the question is, did you tell your supervisor. Usually, the answer is yes, and the supervisor told me to go to HR.
From my point of view, it is not the job of HR job to communicate these things to your colleagues. Be a person and tell that person what was displeasing to you and take care of it. On top of that, the supervisor should be handling these types of things. I think a lot of people use HR as a crutch to handle these types of things. As an HR person, this is annoying sometimes.
Another myth is that HR is the enforcer. If you want something done have HR do it. That is something else that is not completely true. Some rules have to be enforced. But supervisors should be having a role in this also. We reinforce processes that get results or enforces a respectful culture. A good HR should not enforce rules just for the sake of it. So let me caveat a little bit. Right now HR is broken down into two roles. The HR of old and the HR of no.
Then there is the new HR and the HR of yes. So old HR is whatever the rule, you have to follow. Whatever was done in the past, you have to do it exactly the same way. Old HR. If you ask the HR person, what's going on in the marketing department. They'll tell you, I'm not in charge of the marketing department. That's not my business, I run HR. For the new HR, they are more in the gray area and they find a way to say yes versus no all the time. Perfect example, suppose you have a company, and you have a person working for you for 10 years and they have been your best person for 10 years. I mean, it's not even close. He's best the person for 10 years, and he outperforms everybody.
But he misses three days in a row and no one's heard from him for three days. You have a rule that says if someone does not show up for three days that person is fired. Do you fire that person? What do you do? The old HR would say yes, that person has to go. The new HR would be like, before we fire him, let's see what happened before we get rid of such a valuable employee.
Another myth. HR makes all decisions. I will tell you if you are coming into a company and HR is making the decisions that is not a company you want to be in. HR should not be making decisions. That's the job of the CEO and executives. What HR should be doing is saying if you make this decision, these are the possible repercussions. If you do this, then this is going to happen. That is what a good HR person should do. HR should be making recommendations on how to improve the business.
Another myth is that HR is just a personnel department. Well, that was probably true in the past. Now HR should be so much more. Metrics, analytics, data, From my point of view, HR should be involved with every part of the business. If there's something going wrong in the sales department or another department HR should know.
Another myth is that HR exists to punish you and to fire everyone. HR is not there to punish you. HR should be there to help improve the business and to help add value. Now, one thing HR is in charge of compliance, at least HR compliance. So, if something's going wrong, HR should let people know.
Another one, HR only cares about compliance. On a blog post, I did recently, I talked about the 5 legged stool of HR and who was a customer of HR. From our point of view, the customer of HR is everyone. Customers are the executives, the fellow business partners, the employee, the customers of the business and also compliance. It's like a five-legged stool. Compliance is important because there's a lot of fines out there. It is the job of HR to let you know about compliance.
There is a myth, if HR is in a room, someone's getting fired. A lot of companies if someone's getting promoted or something positive is happening the executives or the supervisors do it. But if someone's getting fired, they send HR to be the bad guy. Which I necessarily don't agree with. That's something I think the supervisors should be doing. I was with one company after I got out of the army. Every time I asked for somebody to come to HR. The first thing they asked was, what did I do? Why am I getting fired? It would be for something positive. But for every single time, they would be like, what did I do to get fired. This is something we need to change.
So next one is sorta true, but it's still kind of a myth. HR always takes the company side. So thinking big picture, HR works for the company and the company pays HR. It's not like HR works for the union or the employees. But having said that, HR does have a responsibility to do the right thing. Now, one thing that's my pet peeve is whenever a company does something ethical. Everyone asks, where was the HR? Well, we have no idea if HR recommended to the owner not to do this. Or if HR said if you do this, these are the possible negative consequences. Just one of my pet peeves.
But HR does work for the company, and it's HR job to help improve the company. I just think sometimes HR needs to take the employee side or the company's side dependent on what is best for the business. As HR that is a fine balance. If you're a Chief Human Resource Officer, HR director, chances are your boss is going to be the CEO, or the Chief Operating Officer or sometimes the Chief Financial Officer, of the company.
Another HR myth out there is that HR wants to make life more difficult for you, which to me never makes sense. Because if we make life more difficult for you, in the long run, it is going to make life more difficult for us. But there are a lot of HR people out there who like put all these barriers in front of you. Like you can only come to see me certain times of a day. One thing I think a lot of HR people do is and that is provide a bad user experience. I think HR people need to do a better job of providing a great user experience for the employees. I don't think a lot of us do that unfortunately
Another myth is probably more true than a myth, unfortunately. In a lot of instances, HR is accused of not really understanding the business. A lot of times we get so involved in HR compliance, HR rules, networking with other HR people and doing these the kind of things. That sometimes HR people tend to not focus on the business as we should. There's a person I have been following since my retirement from the Army Allan Collins. He has a rule that says, if you want to be a great HR person, learn the business first learn HR second. Because I know there's so many people out there, not only HR people. So many people out there get hired and whether they are sales, marketing, HR or something else. They stay in their little corner and learn about that specific item.
What they should be doing and I recommend this to anyone and especially HR. Dependent of course on your boss. But your first two weeks should just be going around being people walking around.
Example, if you walk in a seafood plant. You should be walking around meeting all the production managers and supervisors. Learn how all the machines work. Maybe work on the line little bit and just meet people and get to know them on a personal level. Because when they have problems, they're more likely to come talk to you. I will say it is 60% true, 40% myth that HR does not understand the business
Another one, HR is always a roadblock. This is really true for the what I call the old HR, the HR of no. The old HR is always we've never done it before. There's something going on, let me get back to you. There's always like a bureaucratic hurdle.
But there's a lot of good things going on in HR right now. The old HR and the HR of no is slowly being replaced by the new HR and the HR of yes. So hopefully this was helpful.