Seriously, what does HR do for employees?

13 May 24 | Blog

“Oops, watch out – HR might be listening”

“Don’t tell HR I said that!”

“I’m not sure HR would be happy with that”

“Do we have to go through HR?”


It’s fair to say that HR has got a certain… reputation. And it’s not necessarily a positive one. Feared by employees, scorned by managers, mistrusted by all. Maybe it’s not that bad, but there is a sense that HR is there to protect the organisation, even if it’s at the expense of its people – from disciplining employees, to blocking managers.

Is this reputation fair? Let’s explore the questions people ask about HR…

“What not to say in a meeting with HR?”

Search the internet for advice about a workplace problem, and often the advice will be a resounding “Don’t go to HR! They work for the organisation, not for you!”. The worry is that, rather than working with you to solve an internal dispute, they are more likely to terminate your position, just in case you cause your organisation a problem. The assumption is that HR only exists to protect the company, and that employees are very much just a ‘resource’ to be managed.

Obviously, on a very literal level, that’s true. But look at it another way: just as an employee is trying to do more than just ‘not get fired’, the same is true for HR teams. They don’t want the organisation to get into trouble, sure. But they want more than that: their job performance and satisfaction relies on the organisation doing well. And that comes down to motivating the workforce.

“Does HR care about employees?”

Another worry that people have about HR is a matter of their motivation. The perception of controlling, red-tape-obsessed, busy bodies has (unfairly) become an industry-spanning joke – with the implication being that they got into the biz for the power. But ask any HR professional if that’s true, and the chances are you’d get a laugh. Because the reality is, they often spend a great deal of time trying to convince leaders, managers, and employees that their initiatives are in their best interest.

The majority of HR professionals chose to work with people for a reason. And very few people actually thrive on making people’s lives miserable! When it comes down to it, HR leaders want the organisation and people to do well – as they’re not mutually exclusive.

“What is HR responsible for?”

This is what it all boils down to. A lot of employees don’t really understand what HR is for, not really. Ask “what does HR do?” and the answer might be payroll, recruitment, performance plans, and other people-related administrative tasks. Not to mention firing employees who dare to say the wrong thing… and sometimes, all of that is the case.

But what should HR be doing? What could they be doing? With the organisation’s most important resource – people – in their remit, they have the potential to boost performance, productivity and profits. They just need the right tools.

How we help HR to help employees – for free!

HR doesn’t deserve its employee-unfriendly reputation. We know that they want to get the best out of people – and if it ever doesn’t seem that way, it’s because they’ve got too many other responsibilities to prioritise. But there can be a better way.

HR needs a way to understand the workforce at a glance. It needs a way to spot risk areas in certain groups, or understand what’s driving absence. It needs to understand if their attrition rate matches the industry average and, if not, what they can do about it. They need a way to tune into their people, quickly and easily – without delving into spreadsheets of data.

With Qlearsite, HR can get all of the following – and much more – for FREE:

  • People metrics like attrition, automatically analysed
  • Benchmarks for KPIS, relevant to their industry
  • Identification of trends and risks, like absences rising
  • Signposting to groups of people who drive metrics

Sign up for people metrics & benchmarks

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Anne Therese Bogen, Head of HR, Thommessen

"Qlearsite’s platform is a really helpful tool to push through OKRs – it’s easier when you have statistics and concrete evidence to back up initiatives."