Reasons Why Employees Hate HR


You might be surprised as to how much employees hate human resources. And how deeply the feelings go. There are any number of reasons for this and some of them are logical and some not so much. Of the former, many employees have had bad experiences with HR teams. But we can't help but feel that one of the primary reasons for this ingrained dislike is simply ignorance. After all, many employees have a complete lack of understanding and knowledge about the role that HR plays within the company and the workplace.

If you want to see some rather eye-popping reviews of the HR departments of large businesses, then just browse through Glass door or LinkedIn, and you'll find a multitude of opinions, most of them veering on the negative side. Reading through these, you quickly form the opinion that there are a certain number of unfortunate traits which are being constantly highlighted in groups by negative reviewers. Essentially, these are the reasons why employees complain about the HR department. And in particular, HR managers. So without further ado, let's have a look through and try to find some common ground.

Untrained HR Employees

Nothing is quite as galling as when you have a genuine complaint or enquiry, and you head over to HR only to find that it's full of untrained and uneducated employees. None of them have any experience or have ever worked in HR before. You might be surprised as to how many HR departments are staffed from within the company. With employees coming from accounting or other totally unrelated offices. And you may be forgiven for thinking that the company puts HR at a very low level of importance in the company structure.

Dishonesty in HR

This is a very unfortunate complaint, as it's really tantamount to accusing someone of lying. Yet employee after employee will complain that the HR staff members they are dealing with have been dishonest. In particular, when it comes to complaints. The general consensus is that the HR person is going to misrepresent your story, to both management and, if it ever gets to that stage, to the company lawyer. Following on from this many HR departments don't help themselves by appearing to cover up the original mishandling of any situations. More especially those which may have negative connotations or consequences for the company. There's a feeling that, though they may advertise themselves as being trustworthy and tirelessly looking out for the employees interest, in reality, the absolute opposite is true.

HR Focuses on the Company and Management

It's probably fair to say that to most employees, the HR department only cares about the HR department. Following on from this, it only cares for the company and in particular the middle management. In fact, most employees believe that HR will always side with management against the employee who may be making a genuine complaint. Because we live in an age of instant legal liability, then many HR departments will appear to be on the side of the employee only to later take sides with the company. It's supremely frustrating for employees, especially when there are more than one involved in a complaint. So it's probably fair to say, that in their quest to protect the company from lawsuits, part of HR job description is to actually cover-up any legitimate concerns that employees might have.

Objectivity and Fairness

There seems to be a general consensus among employees, that the members of staff of the HR department are neither fair nor impartial. They tend to have that eye on the next promotion or are looking to earn the biggest salary. Or simply trying to hang onto their jobs rather than acknowledging that employees actually do have legitimate issues that need addressing. Unfortunately, it’s this desire to support middle management over the employee that leads to a situation of mistrust. Many awkward office interactions are simply put down to “he said, she said.” Meaning that the situation is never resolved satisfactorily. Or is resolved to the detriment of the employee. 

Office Politics

Unsurprisingly, most employees view HR staff members as the type who are constantly brown-nosing and looking to find favour with the executive leadership of the company. They tend to have a fixed hierarchical way of dealing with employees based on their job title. A big problem for HR is that they don't appear to add any value to the bottom line of a company. To that end, most employees look at the HR department as being totally expendable and would be happy to see it put in a rocket and shot into the sun. 

Employees Don't Understand HR's Role

While it may be perfectly true that some employees fail to understand the role of HR within the organisation or company, it's also understandable that many employees have a bad taste in their mouth from dealing with the HR department. And once a negative opinion has formed, it's very difficult to be able to see HR staff as caring, competent and with the employees genuine interests at heart. In truth, it only takes one negative experience and the HR department is forever tainted. 

And whilst it's true that there are many occasions when employees get things totally bent out of shape, we also have to acknowledge that there are a huge number of bad HR departments. The type that simply puts the company first in any situation is not going to endear HR to employees. One of the main problems is that HR requires a certain level of empathy and people skills. Yet these very things appear to be missing from most HR departments, in their quest to plarse management about the needs of the workers.

The Bottom Line

The six factors that we have listed above are the reality of how many employees see HR departments within work organisations. If you find any of the above within your organisation then you will have some serious problems down the road. We suggest that you do everything in your power to avoid any of these situations from even forming within your workplace.

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