It’s frustrating. It’s infuriating. In fact, it’s enough to drive you away from HR entirely. There you are, moving behind the scenes of the company, getting stuff done, making things happen, helping keep the company on track when… Wham! You make a mistake and everyone just can’t wait to join the Anti-HR bandwagon. Hell, even when it’s not your mistake, you still end up taking the heat. And what’s worse, no one seems to care why something went wrong, the only thing that matters is that it did. It’s totally unfair, right? Maybe. Is it unexpected? Not really. And trust me, HR isn’t alone.
For example, when was the last time you thought about your garbage pick up? Or the cashier at a store? Or even about your dentist? I bet it was due to one of two reasons: Either you needed something from them, or they made a mistake. How many times have you complained about the IT department when a system went down or the internet was slow? HR can be like that too. Most of the time, our function within a company goes unremarked and unnoticed by the majority of the employees. The only time people think of us is when they need something or because a mistake happened. HR provides a service, and like most service workers, we are expected to do our jobs professionally and correctly, with minimal involvement from those we are providing service too. If I wanted to be poetic, HR is just one instrument in an orchestra that only stands out when it has a solo or when it is out of tune. Most of the time we just blend in with the harmony.
For those of you in the HR trenches, and you know who you are, try to keep in mind that what will set you apart as an HR professional is not the 99% of the job that you get right, but how you handle the 1% that you mess up. After all, the person with the incorrect paycheck doesn’t care how many you did correctly. It’s how you fix the mistake that will really influence that employees perception of HR.