If you listened to a lot of the stuff and nonsense that is written and spoken about HR you’d think we were all engaged in hand to hand ninja fighting with machines, whilst repeating the mantra, “the future of work is human” and promising a tomorrow characterised by self actualised, engagement and bliss.
I don’t know about you, but that is far from the existence I see in most organisations. Far from the work that I see most people do.
First and foremost, before anything else, we make sure the trains run on time. We get people paid, we make sure laws aren’t broken. We handle the enrolment in to benefits that you never know you need – until you really need them.
We make work places safe, ensuring people have a place to go if they feel that they’re being badly treated, informing and educating towards a workplace that has dignity and respect at its heart.
We handle things when the go wrong. Sometimes it’s our fault, sometimes it is a manager’s or an employee’s fault. Sometimes, it is just one of those things. We are there to resolve, rectify and recover from situations that no-one would wish for in the first place.
We find and grow the skills that are necessary to move our organisations forward. Whether that’s hiring, developing or nurturing – making sure that we are able to be successful today and tomorrow. Running programmes, schemes, campaigns to develop the skill base of the organisation.
We support people at their best and at their worst. We deal with the extremes of workplace experience, from the promotions, job offers, bonuses or pay rises to the redundancies, dismissals, deaths and emotional crises. We own messages which most would find difficult and own them well.
We guide, advise, counsel and coach. We help others to find the solutions, identify the outcomes and develop the conclusions that make their work better. We stand shoulder to shoulder with leaders as they go through organisational transitions and changes.
We take the blame. Someone has to and we are more than used to handling it. Not everything will go right at work, not everyone can always be happy. Sometimes people just need someone to point a finger at. And that’s ok.
Sure, we do a whole lot more as well. But funnily enough, not a single robot slain.