Long time HR people always find it amusing when interviewing someone who is just starting out in the profession, who answers the “why do you want to work in HR?” question with, “I just love people!” Look, we all loved people, and then we became HR people.
People ask me why I chose the moniker “Evil HR Lady,” and I say, “Would you read the “Warm and Fuzzy HR Lady?” But I didn’t just choose it for the shock factor.
People often view their HR managers as evil – after all, we’re the ones who employees blame for low raises, short breaks, and inflexible work schedules. “HR said no,” a boss will say when explaining to an employee while the hoped for raise didn’t happen.
The reality is, HR did say no, but the manager never gives the true reason. For instance, HR said no because there’s no money left in the finance-approved budget. Or, HR said no because the person hasn’t met performance expectations in three years, and rather than the manager having the guts to say, “You’re not eligible for a raise because you aren’t performing up to speed,” he simply says, “HR said no.”
Or, my favorite, the manager didn’t even consult HR, just told the employee he’d check with HR and then three days later told the employee that we turned down her request for a raise. Yes, it happens.
Because people don’t always like HR, it’s not shocking that HR can become cynical towards employees. After all, it’s not always lying managers, it’s employees who’s 18th grandparent just happened to die over a holiday weekend (sometimes we do keep track).