Perceptions of HR

Perceptions of HR
from the Turning Good People Into Top Talent blog series

Human resource blue puzzle pieces assembled

Most employees would agree that you cannot ignore HR.  However, the typical perception of HR is not generally positive.  Some would say that there is outright dislike or at best, tolerance.

Most responsibilities of HR involve people policies, which typically includes benefits, compensation, and performance evaluation, among others.  Unless there is an organizational development or talent management department, HR is also involved in training and development functions. In addition, HR is responsible for recruiting, which tends to cause line manager dependence for finding the right people.

Involvement with HR at many levels has generally created very strong love or hate feelings.  The following three perceptions tend to increase those feelings:

  1. Viewed as a “Cost-Center” compared to sales and production, HR may offer no comparable tangible contribution.
  2. A lack of understanding of practical issues and the (often) unwillingness to make exceptions for unusual circumstances.
  3. Considered an auditor lacking focus on results and only concerned with policies and procedures.

Many authorities agree that the typical HR department is overdue for a makeover.  The change in perception must begin with senior management by creating a set of realistic expectations.  A first step could include elevating HR to a strategic level and a seat at the “big” table, particularly when planning is involved.  In my opinion, most organizations would benefit by creating a talent management function that is linked and integrated with Human Resource Management (HRM).  I take the position that HRM would continue to perform the administrative duties such as compensation and benefits. Thus, Talent Management can include all the processes required to effectively select, onboard, develop and retain top talent.

If your organization considers people your greatest asset, talent management and development must become a strategic, senior level priority. Your only true competitive advantage in a highly competitive world is the rate at which your people can developed into top talent.


Bob Moore, CMC®
CEO of Effectiveness, Inc. and
The Talent Management Institute
“Turning Good People Into Top Talent”

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