25 reasons why HR sucks

Back to work blues.  We’ve all experienced or know someone who’s had a run in with Human Resources (HR).  These kingdom-building-little-Hitlers create a toxic work environment.

The over-inflated HR manager of a state-funded local institution took charge of the fit out for a new building project.  Surprise surprise budget blowout.

The HR department of another organization was asked to rewrite job descriptions as part of the company restructure.  The dictatorial method of reallocating tasks without employee consultation was somehow considered appropriate, and new job descriptions were duly produced.  Understandably they contained huge gaffes.

A young male employee was appalled to learn he’d been allocated the job of cleaning toilets when they became less than pristine, including the ladies loos.  HR had decided hygiene issues arising between cleaner’s visits would be addressed by the most junior staff member.  At least they weren’t sexist, right?

25 indicators that HR is killing your business is that they:

  1. Are self-serving and self-perpetuating
  2. Are not directly accountable to anyone 
  3. Rate themselves more highly than they deserve
  4. Do not add measurable value to a business
  5. Are not objective or fair
  6. Play office politics
  7. Are expensive because they are overstaffed
  8. Don’t understand their organisation’s core business
  9. Don’t know what people do
  10. Get involved in areas outside their domain such as asset purchases and office refurbishment
  11. Are dishonest and misrepresent employees to management
  12. Reward the wrong people 
  13. Hire the wrong people
  14. Show nepotism
  15. Don’t care about employees or show humanity
  16. Adversely affect morale causing high staff turnover 
  17. Cause productivity to drop
  18. Fail to identify or address individual poor performance
  19. Fail to identify or retain key staff
  20. Don’t do succession planning
  21. Have poor communication skills
  22. Are dictatorial with a rigid, non-negotiable attitude
  23. Are arrogant, ignoring procedures everyone else must follow
  24. Don’t cooperate with other departments and managers
  25. Attempt to intimidate anyone who challenges their authority

Good luck with alerting management.  You’ve got to get past HR’s tentacles first.  And bad management won’t want to know because they are the reason HR ran amok.  They appointed and failed to keep them in check.  After gladly washing their hands of the onerous HR responsibilities inept management will be reluctant to revisit.

Moving on is the only way to extricate yourself from a toxic workplace.  Look for a reputable HR department or a smaller organisation where the owner or manager competently carries out HR responsibilities and has a vested interest in retaining productive employees.


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Suze aka Sue Sangster is an avid reader, writer and aspiring novelist with a green thumb.

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