I said this on a call last week, and the HR person got offended. That’s ok with me. I’m not taking it back.
HR people are small minded. The can’t see outside of their own cubicle into the world around them. They write dress codes, they send out emails about “fun events this weekend!” and plan holiday parties. They can’t read data beyond headcount. They don’t read books. They don’t read magazine. They might read comics, but only the ones in the newspaper. They read the newspaper, but only USAToday. They are happy to be the ones to bring bagels to the staff meeting. They don’t push back on leaders making bad decisions. They send out mass emails to chastise everyone when one person makes a mistake. And if you ask them a question, regardless of whether or not they know the answer, they will talk…and talk…and talk. And then talk some more.
But you know who I like? Professionals who work in HR. Smart, talented people who handle complex business issues. Pros who know how to analyze data, rebuild a process and read a financial report. Pros who also know how to mentor a teammate, coach an executive through difficult personnel decisions, and run an investigation. Pros who can simultaneously represent the rights of an employee, the needs of the business and the demands of a leader. Pros who can look that leader in the eye and tell them know, even the CEO.
There’s too many HR people in HR, and not enough professionals. But its getting better. I’m excited about it.
(By the way, another method of spotting the professionals are the ones who work to improve their knowledge and be part of the growing professional community by attending conferences and reading insightful blogs. So chances are you one of them.)