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.



What does HR do for employees really?

Seriously, what does HR do for employees?

“Oops, watch out - HR might be listening” “Don’t tell HR I said that!” “I’m not sure HR would be...
Window with money behind

Pay transparency is business critical: here’s why

‘Competitive’. What does the word mean? What is it hiding? Do people writing job advertisements...
Not talking about money

3 reasons bosses avoid ‘pay chats’ (and how benchmarks help)

No-one actually enjoys talking about money, do they? Whether you’re the employee or their manager,...

Salary benchmarking by Qlearsite Pro

Whatever kind of people leader you are - HR professional, CEO, team lead, line manager - then...
Absence management software

Why (and how) to choose absence management software

If you’re a people leader, there’s a lot to keep on top of. And managing absence isn’t always...
Sickness absence management: a guide

Sickness absence management: the ultimate guide

In your organisation, do employees have to call in when too unwell to work - rather than send a...
What is absenteeism?

What is absenteeism, and why should you measure it?

Absenteeism refers to a pattern of unplanned time off from work, often due to sickness or other...
6 reasons to use a salary benchmarking tool

6 reasons to use a salary benchmarking tool

If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll have learnt what benchmarking is, what salary...
why benchmarking salaries matters

Why benchmarking salaries matters

It’s important to benchmark your organisation’s salaries for multiple reasons - like being able to...
Everything people leaders needs to know about salary benchmarks

What is salary benchmarking?

Salary benchmarking is about comparing your organisation’s salaries to similar roles in different...

Get a live demo
of the platform 

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."