When you walk in for an interview at that awesome company you always dreamt about, which department do you typically interact with first?
When you quit a company, in search of better opportunities (and possibly, more money), which department do you interact with last?
When you are working in a company, which department do you interact with least, on a day-to-day basis, but you abuse and curse the most?
It should come as no surprise that the answer to all the three questions would be ‘HR’ for most people. But then, what makes the HR department so universally reviled? Why do people smirk whenever the words ‘work’ and ‘HR’ are uttered together?
One can’t really blame people for this, you know. It’s a vicious cycle. Traditionally, HR has been a support function rather than a strategic function. And so, it has not earned itself the respect that it should have. Consequently, it doesn’t pay what it should, leading to many good candidates giving it the slip, and opting for other ‘valued’ specializations like Finance, Marketing or Strategy. Since many of the candidates coming into HR happen to be the ones who didn’t have any other choice, HR doesn’t pay as well as it should.
And that’s why even some top executives often fail to realize the role that HR plays in an organization, and think of HR executives as outcasts and pariahs. Of course, the winds of change are blowing, but they will take some time to usher in the new paradigm.
Till then, the cycle goes on…