Guest Post: Remembering the Humans in Human Resources

During the holidays, many things happen. Our lives get a couple of nice breaks and we have a brief moment to reflect on just what it is we are doing out there in the world. HR can be a tough, yet rewarding job. It all depends on how you look at things. Some people in the company love you; others can’t stand you at all. Sometimes, HR reps just seem to get a bad rap because of the fact that they have to enforce rules and be the bearer of bad news.


If it’s your kind of thing, you get used to it after a while. For the most part, people do their jobs and you do a lot of paperwork. Here and there, you may have to deal with some tougher issues, like cutting benefits, laying people off, and even terminations. This is what we have trained for.


Recently, I overheard a group of young people at a coffee shop talking about human resources. Naturally, my ears perked up. One thought it was a very disgusting term, taking all humanity away from employees and referring to them as simply resources. Another thought that it was an appropriate term and that his friend was being unreasonable.


This little conversation got me thinking about the term, though. I realized that perception is a big part of the equation, and that different people are going to care more, less, or not at all about what’s going on in HR. That doesn’t mean that we have to let the people become just mere resources either.


It is definitely a balancing act when working in HR. You can’t get too attached to anyone because it could affect your objectivity. However, you can still look at the situations you encounter in HR for their humanity and try to understand people’s reactions when you encounter them. This is something that could bridge the seeming gap that exists in some companies between HR and the employees, ultimately creating a more effective office culture.



This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of online MBA programsShe invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com