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We are, unfortunately, overcoming decades of bad press and bad experiences. People develop a negative view of HR, pack those memories in their suitcase, and bring that baggage with them to subsequent employers. I wrote on the same topic today myself... http://hrschoolhouse.com/im-hr-im-help/

Yes, Robin, my latest piece seems to have appeared at a moment when others are also chiming in about our defects, like Crystal Spraggins http://www.tlnt.com/2015/01/08/the-biggest-lie-we-tell-in-hr-and-why-need-to-stop-telling-it/. Biggest question remains whether we can overcome the bad rep accumulated over many decades of shoddy behavior and how long it will require to do it.

Not only is the Human Resources group "depreciated" but also "deprecated" by many.

Marvelous observation, Mark, that HR's perceived value has fallen (depreciated) while also winning opprobation (deprecated, meaning earning disgrace)! I tried to use words more commonly understood than those other extremely precise but rarely encountered terms.

Jim, I guess I get that from having had a HS English teacher for my mother. Some things are innate others or inborn......... not sure which way to go...

In that regard, Mark, I firmly straddle the middle line between nature and nurture. A bit of one and a lot of the other, much of the time, except when they balance out evenly. Few things in life do, though.

This goes back to HR acting as "the police" and saying "no" with no options rather than acting as a business partner. As HR Executives we have to train our staff the importance of understanding the business and working to partner with business leaders to make the best decisions for the company.

Tracey: You are right. Being paid by top management to be "bad cop" who is doomed to be overridden by higher authority eventually but who puts up a valiant holding action that repels some faint-hearted managers is another disgusting syndrome of HR. Yes, you may get a private "attaboy/attagal" and a nice bonus for acting as ordered, being the unpopular proxy for the rotten policy, but it erodes your spirit. Hypocritical and distasteful, but frequently part of The Job, I fear.

It doesn't help when people think and say, "Anyone can be in HR" or "It's an administrative function" and having met plenty of HR members who are not keeping up to date with the legislation, technology or knowledge, I can see why it's frustrating.

It's when you find out that your significant other/family member's company is doing something illegal as hell and someone speak up about it, they made no effort to fix it. Cringe worthy. Hopefully its not a norm but I am not holding my breath.

SSDD, Jules. Perhaps it is relevant when such malfeasance or incompetence continues without notice or correction. Doesn't that say something about the importance of the function?

I think the fault lies with the CEOs. 1) They surround themselves with yes men (including HR) or 2) They don't include HR earlier in their decision making process so HR has to play clean up instead of offering better options or 3) They get the standard that they are willing to accept. They hold finance to better results, same with IT but HR, not so much.

Once they realize that they can get a competitive advantage with the right HR people in place and all managers utilizing them fully (some do) then HR's image will change. However, it also means that some folks in HR won't have a job.

Lisa: Good catch! You caught my unspoken thought about CEOs who accept toadies in HR while they would not permit such creatures in more vital functions. Comes back to needing to prove that HR impacts the bottom line, I fear.

While I am sure there is a fair share of CEOs who surround themselves with "yes" people (I've seen a couple first-hand), I think it's also the case that not enough HR practitioners make enough of an effort to really understand their company's business, and therefore really can't effectively challenge the CEO when needed. I think we as a profession (and certainly CC readers already excel) are improving in this area, but there's a reason that Finance and IT generally "have a seat at the table" while HR often does not. It's hard to prove how much we can impact the bottom line without first becoming an expert of the business. I think there's "blame" to spread between both groups.

I think there may always be a negative perception of HR amongst the general employee population, because we often are, as Tracey stated, the "bad cop". One of my favorite Dilbert cartoons features our pal Catbert, who after choosing the nuclear option in response to the violation of yet another ridiculous policy tells his victim "You can't spell 'Who Cares?' without HR."

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