Well, not officially anyway, but it seems like as good a time as any. It may have been said that we HR people are too focused on the warm and fuzzy. Or that our love of meaningless party planning is only offset slightly by our unhealthy obsession with performance reviews. Perhaps you've heard that we make it impossible to get rid of terrible employees and that we’re big meanies who fire the good ones? Please, don’t get us started on documentation and your lack of it. We’re often stereotyped by employees, managers, and even a few so called leaders. Pop culture recognizes us as Toby Flenderson from The Office and we’re depicted as a cat in a national comic strip.
People love to hate us, and honestly, if there’s a teeny bit of truth in any of this, it’s because we wear a gazillion different hats every day. Think about it - how many other professions represent and balance the interests of both company and employees? Our constituents are the entire company, and we serve as counselor, leader, administrator, influencer, benefit expert, recruiter, terminator, developer, cheerleader, culture warrior, employee champion, master filer, business partner, investigator, secret-keeper, confidante, strategist – the list goes on. (Top that, finance!)
As much as I sincerely like HR, it can be rough at times, and it certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. You, my dear HR colleagues, deserve a little appreciation for a few of the countless unseen and under-appreciated things you do.
Therefore, I raise my glass of filtered, room temperature water to each of you for:
- Giving W4 and NC-4 tax advice to every new hire, without officially giving tax advice to every new hire
- Calmly explaining the concepts of deductible, coinsurance, and copays….yet again
- Your bravery and honesty in telling an employee difficult things their manager couldn’t, and for helping them realize it’s time they look for something else
- Fighting year after year to keep health insurance deductions low for employees and their kids
- Strong-arming influencing countless managers to try a more positive approach to leading their teams
- Your candor, sensitivity, and olfactory fortitude in counseling someone on body odor when their manager chickened out (dear manager, it’s called managerial courage and you should get some)
- Planning the [holiday party, employee picnic, or insert your event] everyone hates attending yet loves complaining about
- Your restraint from getting ridiculously intoxicated at the aforementioned event you so diligently planned
- Delivering devastating news of a layoff in a manner that retained the person’s dignity
- Maintaining your composure while explaining the life insurance benefit to a departed employee’s loved one
- Reading the countless unformatted resumes sent to you from everyone’s cousin’s brother's girlfriend's former cell mate, even when your job didn't include recruiting
- Remaining tight-lipped about the salacious secrets uncovered from your investigations, even when they’re about someone you dislike
- And finally, for remaining committed to making workplaces everywhere better, despite items 1-12.
You are loved and appreciated, even if it’s mostly by other HR people. Spread the love - comment with anything I've left off the list!
Thanks for reading the first ever Straight Up HR post! Follow my blog so we can share the highs and lows of HR together. Cheers! Melissa