6 Things You Need to Stop Asking HR For


When the HR department I work at got a new boss a number of years ago, one of her first official acts was to put a copy of an article entitled Why We Hate HR into each of our mailboxes. Honestly, it stung, but some of the author's issues with HR were understandable.

Human Resources can be an odd place to work, because it's sort of in the middle — between management and staff. HR doesn't plan or direct the vision of the company; it coordinates the administrative functions. Management often uses HR as a sort of an enforcer, or a gatekeeper, which can lead to negative impressions. Truth be told, though, most of us in HR are there because we do want to help support the inner workings of our organization. Here are six instances, however, when they simply cannot help you.

1. HR Cannot Help You Get the Job You Want

That's not HR's function. While Human Resources is responsible for recruiting and screening, the actual interview and hiring decisions are usually made by managers. Human Resources can, however, help you figure out which jobs you may be qualified for, accept your application, screen it, check references, and put it on a list for the hiring manager. Any additional "help" to you would likely interfere with a fair hiring process — and that's plain unfair to others.

2. HR Cannot Help You Get a Promotion

We don't doubt that you deserve a promotion, or that you're the best candidate, but again, that's up to a manager. If you have been an exemplary employee, though, we can help you demonstrate that to your hiring manager with copies of performance reviews, records of attendance, records of training, and the like.

3. HR Does Not Give Out Raises

Yes, you have been here a long time. Yes, you are terrific. Yes, you absolutely do deserve a raise. But no: we don't give them out. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, that's a management decision. HR can implement raises, but another level has to make that decision. We also keep an eye on the industry to make sure our company's pay is competitive, and the recruiters speak up when it's not.

4. HR Does Not Determine How Much Leave You Get

We just track those hours — we don't decide how many you receive. That's a company decision, or in some cases, decided upon through collective bargaining. When employees need to take leave, I can honestly say we do our best (above and beyond) to find whatever we can. We all have families, too, so there is a great deal of empathy. Every HR department I have worked in has been extremely creative with coming up with a patchwork of vacation, sick, comp time, flex time, family leave, temporary disability, shared leave, and leave without pay.

5. HR Does Not Determine Benefits

We understand that you want and need them, and if they are available to you, we'll help you sign up for them. A little personal responsibility comes into play here, and I wish I had a nickel for every person who missed a health insurance open enrollment period or never returned forms. If employees don't respond to phone calls or emails, there is only so much the benefits people can do.

6. HR May Not Provide the Training You Need

In difficult financial times, training is often on the "cut" list, and we may not have the funds to provide what you need. Much of the training funds available have to be used for mandatory training, and not anything above and beyond.

That doesn't mean that HR won't help you, though. Check with your HR training person. They will likely be happy to search and find what you need, either at local colleges, universities or private training programs, or via the Internet. We will also help you put together a job shadowing experience, find you a mentor, or a preceptor.

In what ways is your company's HR department a friend or a foe?

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