Why Do Employees Love to Hate HR?


In theory, the purpose of HR is to ensure that an organization stays or becomes a great place to work. That vision of the job is appealing. However, other employees tend to hate HR managers because they see them as bossy fun-ruiners more than an ally.

HR deals with waves of good and bad energy

The reality of HR is that they have to deal with energies, good and bad. It’s their job, more than anyone else’s, to deal with the human aspect of every person in a company. This can easily become challenging.

Is it “Us vs Them”?

One of the main reasons why employees hate HR people is because they always seem to take the company’s side, never the employees’ side. With that mental frame, HR people logically become enemies and seem untrustworthy.

The line between the direction and the workforce is blurred for HR managers. So, the rest of the employees don’t always feel like they can trust them and will hesitate to confide their concerns or complaints. In other words, employees are afraid that everything they say will then be told to their boss and held against them. It prevents them from sharing their problems or concerns.

Of course, it’s important to understand that HR managers are employees just like everyone else. They have missions, responsibilities and also have to answer to their boss, all while taking care of the culture and atmosphere of the company.

The Supervisor vs The Culture Enforcer

What if the main problem was coming from the fact that organizations usually give two roles to their HR people? The Supervisor and The Culture Enforcer: two jobs that are often contradictory and paradoxical.

On one side, HR managers are supposed to talk about policies and report any infractions. On the other side, they are expected to be instilling happiness in the workplace, organize team activities and other special events.

Being responsible for this variety of conflicting functions, from training and development to legal compliance and office fun, is a huge responsibility. That’s why it takes people who have the experience to do so. It’s not only about the hard skills, the soft skills are crucial. In fact, having a degree in HR doesn’t automatically make you a great people person. However, offering HR responsibilities to one of your employees just because they “like it” is not a good idea either.

Soft skills every HR pro should have

Communication, leadership, decisiveness, humour, psychology… HR is for people who have the ability to speak and make a good presentation but are also able to listen and read people.

Sensing if someone is lying, being aware of body language cues, knowing when someone is not feeling okay, these are skills that can be learned and mastered but it needs to come from an authentic interest. Empathy cannot be taught and it is one thing that is essential in HR.

Without the ability to see another person’s point of view or understand the nuances of a situation, one can’t be good at HR. People like that will most certainly make bad decisions that will both hurt the company bottom line and the employees.

In the end, maybe people would stop hating HR if they realized it isn’t there to pin employees against their bosses or bosses against their employees. HR shouldn’t be about taking sides but about making sure that the right things happen. Organizations need to support HR functions and make sure that it is valued by everyone in their company.