Why HR deserves more respect (and how to get it)

13 Nov 23 | Blog

When you’re sat in the passenger seat giving directions, you don’t expect the driver to ignore you completely – especially when they turn right instead of left, and speed directly into a river. Soggy shoes aside, it’d be reasonable to be slightly irritated at the lack of belief in your navigational skills.

For HR, that analogy might ring true. Your advice and recommendations are overlooked, and sometimes leaders question if it’s really your place to chip in at all. Human Resources professionals have a perception problem, and it needs to end now.

The history of HR

The history of HR is long and complex – born from the post-WW2 talent shortage, and the “urgent need to develop and retain talent”, then shifting from primarily focusing on hiring and firing, to training and development, and now mainly admin and the odd spot of damage control. 

But from the early days of ‘personnel administration’, HR teams are starting to have an identity shift. Payroll and approving holidays may still be a big part of it, but the future is strategic HR – that is, HR harnessing its unique organisational insights to drive real change. 

The biggest thing standing in the way? The understanding of what HR actually is.  

What people really think about HR 

The stats:

What employees think:

The overall impression: 

For the average employee, their dealings with HR will feel transactional – issuing contracts, paying expenses, approving holidays. Otherwise, the impression is that HR is a disciplinary function. Obsessed with rules, they’re people you should choose your words carefully around…

What leaders think:

The overall impression: 

When leaders do admit that they need HR, they’re not fully backing their strategic power – not just yet. Many see their role as largely admin-based, with tasks like handling payroll and placing job ads. Beyond scope, they’re also clearly unaware of the scale of their work too. 

What HR professionals think:

The overall impression: 

Only 51% of HR feel highly valued by their senior leadership, and that impacts self-belief. 35% aren’t confident with providing people insights, and only 28% would say they’re analytics experts – and even if they did have the knowhow, they’re tied up in admin anyway!

The future of HR

Experts agree that data-driven HR will lead organisational decision-making by 2030. HR professionals won’t just be strategic partners – they’ll be strategic leaders, pushing performance further by tapping into people insights. 

What does that mean? That HR will finally be given the respect it deserves. They won’t be seen as an ominous, bogeyman-like presence handing out contract terminations. They won’t be seen as ‘red tape’ obsessives. They won’t even be seen as paperwork-peddling, pencil-pushing administrators. Instead, they’ll get the credit for driving organisational change.

Our platform can turn the ‘strategic HR’ dream into reality

It’s not easy to change others’ perceptions, or even your own. But being a strategic part of your organisation is about ‘doing’, not ‘telling’. That’s why we built an affordable platform to help you make a difference in your organisation.

It’s everything you need in one place, start to finish, to combine HR data and employee feedback, and find a clear way forward:

 

Get started today, for free.

 

 

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