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Reality versus expectations: What we think of HR professionals


A good human resources department is essential to keep your business thriving, but who hasn’t had the feeling, “HR is useless” before? A survey from Paychex interviewed 1000 employees form variously sized companies and 90 HR professionals to find out how they felt about their HR department.

Average – was the overwhelming response when asked to rank the overall performance of the HR department. Employees of all sized businesses gave them just under a pass mark of 50%. While most HR departments are far a cry from top of the class, only a few employees thought they were a complete failure. Only 2% of small companies, 1% of mid-sized companies, and 3% of large companies got far below-average rankings.

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What is the number one complaint with HR departments? You may expect the answer to involve compensation, but it is actually how they handle employee disputes that annoy employees the most.

Almost a quarter (24%) of those surveyed were unhappy with how in-office disputes were being handled. Moreover, when respondents were asked which HR offences would make them quit their jobs, senior-level employees were twice as likely as middle-level employees and three times as likely as management to cite HR’s lack of empathy as a reason for quitting.

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In the end, the feeling of HR being useless may have more to do with expectations of employees than performance as the survey shows a disconnect between what people expect HR’s job to be and what they actually spend their time on.

The majority of both employees and HR professionals agree that it’s HR’s responsibility to handle disputes, racism, sexism, and conflicts in the workplace. They also agree that HR should manage employee benefits and oversee paycheques. However, 67% of HR professionals say interviewing talent is in their job description, and 61% also say they are responsible for training talent. But, only 46% of employees say HR is responsible for interviewing and only 29% think their HR department handles employee training.

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ALSO READ: The worst ways HR teams have dropped the ball


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