The Ugly Side of HR

As with any career, Human Resources has its pros and cons. Human Resources; however, comes with a whole host of problems associated with being seen as “the bad guy” by both employees, and the company you work for. If you are doing your job correctly as a Human Resources professional, you are protecting both the company’s bottom-line, and the employee’s best-interest, which can make you more enemies than friends. In order to keep your head up as an HR professional, you must be able to revel in the small glories and accomplishments, and do your best not to take it personally, when you have to let-go of a hard-working employee for financial reasons. While it’s hard not to have a heavy-heart when delivering this kind of bad news, it’s part of the HR professional’s job, and more often than not, the decision is being made to protect the health of the company as a whole.
If you ask anybody who’s worked in HR for a long enough time what their least favorite part of the job is, they will undoubtedly say it’s letting good employees go for the sake of the company’s budget. I’m sure there are a few sociopaths in HR out there who don’t mind, but for the most part, it’s pretty much the worst of the worst as far as Human Resources go. Any decision HR people have to make that puts the well-being of the company before the well-being of the people who work there, is not an easy one. It’s part of working in HR however, and usually by making these kinds of tough decisions you’re helping all of the remaining employees keep their jobs, and the company keep operating. Whether or not the remaining employees see it that way is another story, but in order to keep a good perspective, you as the HR professional must remember that. As long as you know that you fought as hard as you could to keep as many useful employees working, and to keep the company operating as well as it can, you know you did your job well.
A huge factor in enjoying your position as an HR  professional is whether or not the company you work for has a CEO, or other high level executives that value their work-force. If you are constantly put in a position by your superiors that forces you to put money before people, then you will undoubtedly be very unsatisfied. Most companies understand the value of a qualified and satisfied work-force, but there are still plenty of higher-up people who see the work-force as completely disposable, and who see it as the job of those in HR to “trim the fat” and constantly find ways to do more work with a smaller staff. If you find yourself in a company like this, it may be time to look for a position elsewhere. There are plenty of businesses out there who put the proper emphasis on a talented and happy work-force. Smart leaders know that a comfortable staff is a productive one.
While HR does have its share of unsatisfying, and treacherous decisions to make, it also comes with some extremely rewarding aspects as well. As the people who sort through the resumes and essentially get to say which talent does or doesn’t make the cut, HR gets a unique perspective in watching people’s careers grow and flourish. Maybe you interviewed someone right after college graduation, they had a lot to learn but you took a chance on them because they had good qualifications and an even better attitude, now they’ve worked their way up and are a promising young professional. You can take pride in knowing that your were able to spot that potential, pick it out of the crowd, and perhaps even help develop and train them into their current state of success.
So HR professionals, remember that no matter how angry someone might be with a decision you were forced to make, you are not the bad guy. Human Resources has aspects to it that are a necessary evil for the health of companies, and while it’s not always fun to have to let people go or fire them, it usually is necessary for the bigger picture. Perhaps that is the key to remaining satisfied in HR, allowing yourself to see the bigger picture, when others on both sides, are not always able to keep that well-rounded of a perspective.

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