This blog series will attempt to set straight some of the myths that surround HR.  Myth #1: “HR is a bunch of paper-pushers that don’t really understand our business.”  If this is how the HR team at your organization is described…well, you have a problem.  I will review the three most likely issues you should consider.  First, you may have a perception problem, where the organization doesn’t understand the value that HR brings to the table.   The value can take the form of compliance, where your HR team monitors and ensures the organization stays in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, or Affordable Health Care Act.   Non compliance with any of these federal regulations could result in major fines and penalties in the tens of thousands of dollars.  Or the value can be in the form of organizational culture, measured by the number of employee relations issues, involuntary terminations, or grievances.   These metrics can be used to demonstrate the value the HR team brings to the organization.

Second, you may have a communication problem.  Often times, HR teams are doing everything right and can easily fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” category.  While it is expected the basic “blocking and tackling” of HR is taken care of, often time organizations and leadership overlook these items and ASSUME they just automatically happen.   It is key for HR to communicate up within the organization to inform leadership of the whys and what for’s that take place on a regular basis.  For example, does leadership understand the importance of a 5300 report?  What happens if it isn’t submitted timely and accurately?  It’s important for HR teams to communicate up within the organization in order for the organization to understand the importance and value the HR team brings.
Lastly, you may have a talent problem.  In today’s business landscape, it is paramount that the HR team understands not only the business, but how and what factors impact the business.  Whether it be economic, global, or internal factors, HR should be engaged with the business and understand the pitfalls and land mines that can impact the organization .  If your HR team lacks the desire or acumen to understand the business climate, then it’s up to the organization to get them up to speed or bring in new HR leadership that can do so.