HR does…. Er, what does HR do, again?

April 1, 2019

Laura Hayden, one of our talented HR Partners, seems to be always asked the question ‘So, what does HR do again!?’ She puts us out of our misery below…

By Laura Hayden

People’s perception of what HR does is very different from what we do. Or is it?

A recent survey* on what employees believe HR does revealed they very often weren’t that far off the mark.  For example,

  • 79% thought HR deals with disputes and grievance – 70% of HR professionals agreed;
  • 68% thought HR deals with benefits – 61% of HR professionals agreed;
  • 55% thought HR process payroll – 56% of HR professionals do this;
  • 54% thought HR recruit talent – 67% of HR professionals do this;
  • 46% thought HR interview – 67% of HR professionals do this;
  • 29% thought HR train and develop – 61% of HR Professional do this.

The focus is very much on the administration and employee relations side; the perception is HR deals with the admin of having employees, disciplinary and grievance issues and keeping the company legal.  This is reflected in our experience, where the perception of business owners is they need HR when they are bogged down in people issues; it’s become too big for them to handle.

However, the reality is HR can do and be so much more than that, given the right focus, talent and will to prove themselves in the HR team itself. Plus some people admin is better done by the line manager; they have the day to day contact and ownership for managing their teams.

Moving beyond that, HR also perceive themselves as:

A strategic partner – having the business savvy to help shape and deliver the business strategy and plan is key here.  The focus is on creating and delivering a people strategy that enables the business to deliver its goals. This includes performance management, talent development and succession planning;

Employee advocate – this focuses on your employee experience and building your employer reputation and brand.  This includes wellbeing, motivation and reward and recognition strategies;

Change Champion – finally, the focus is on how HR partner with other areas of the business to create, maintain and deliver the company vision, values and culture to achieve the overall business goals.  Communication is key, ensuring all parts of the business have the same message and are clear on what is expected of them.

A bit of a difference still between the two?  Well, yes there is. How to change/ bridge that perception is a whole different topic, but, as they say, there’s always more than one side to a story!


Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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