Busting the Top 3 Common Myths About HR

What is HR?

The simple answer: HR is Human Resources. HR is the department that’s responsible for the employee life cycle—from recruiting and hiring, to onboarding, training, firing and offboarding, HR handles it all. HR is also in charge of administering employee benefits.

As HR professionals, we’re very familiar with the misconceptions about HR and what we do in this field. If you ask people in your office what they think HR does, they might have different answers. Some might say that HR is just involved in ‘uncomfortable’ situations, like a disciplinary meeting or a firing. Some think HR is only involved with recruitment.

It’s safe to say that there are a lot of myths or misconceptions about HR that employers and employees alike still believe in. In this article, we’ll go through the most common myths we encounter… and bust them!

Myth #1: HR is only involved in hiring and firing

It’s easy to see where this myth comes from. HR is involved in hiring and firing employees… but our work doesn’t stop there!

At Now Actually, we say we’re involved from hire to fire. In our capacity as HR consultants, we’re involved in the whole of the employee life cycle. HR can be involved right from the beginning: from creating a Position Description and conducting recruitment activities, like interviewing candidates and making sure that the right candidates are being attracted, to handling exit interviews and relaying feedback about an employee’s experience about the company to management.

HR’s involvement doesn’t stop at hiring. We are involved in onboarding and making sure that new hires are as familiar as they can be with their new workplace. It’s not a task that’s undertaken lightly—ensuring a new hire is properly onboarded with all the resources and information they need to seamlessly integrate into the business is all on HR, and is a responsibility we take seriously.

Aside from the above, HR is in charge of employee engagement, training and development or professional development, performance planning, workplace investigations, and compliance with labour law. Curious about the role HR plays in all this? Here’s a look into what we do as an outsourced HR consultancy.

Myth #2: HR only exists to serve employers or management

This is one of the most common myths we want to bust about HR because it simply goes against everything HR stands for and what we do.

In HR, we advocate for people—the humans—and this is true for employees and not just management. This could be because a lot of HR work is behind the scenes. In our work, we strive to be the connection between management and employees. We do our best to uphold the company values and communicate these to employees. Aside from ensuring compliance and mitigating legal risk, HR strives to take budgetary needs and strategic goals in mind when navigating opposing views and needs (Forbes). This involves listening to the people, which is why we often say that we’re our clients’ partner in people.

Myth 3: HR only deals with issues after they arise

One of the most common myths we deal with in HR is that HR is only involved when things go wrong (like how to deal with an under-performing employee, or maybe dealing with a misunderstanding between two team members). Effective HR is proactive, not just reactive: it isn’t just about compliance and enforcing policies!

HR is involved in strategic roles like in workforce planning, talent management, and succession planning. We work closely with the business in maximising their employees’ potential and making sure they’re set up from success.

HR for business success

A great example of us partnering with a company to coach, guide, and educate them and be their outsourced HR support is this case study of our work with Clothing The Gaps. In this instance, we worked with the business from when they were a small team of three to focus on the foundational elements of HR and creating documents tailored to them.

While we did provide reactive support to Clothing the Gaps, we also focused on setting up HR that worked for their needs and took into consideration how their business would scale. Now with over 30 staff, the business enjoys the benefits of having an HR team that grew with them from the beginning and understands their business model, culture, and operations.

Don’t let a common HR myth stop you from investing in your people

We’ve busted the most common myths we hear about HR above, and in summary:

  • HR is involved in the entire employee lifecycle, not just hiring and firing
  • HR doesn’t exist or work for just management—we listen and work with the employees as well
  • HR provides proactive and not just reactive support to businesses.

HR is an important function for any business, big or small. It plays a fundamental role in managing an organisation’s most valuable asset—its people.

From managing the employee lifecycle, to listening to employees and communicating feedback to management, to ensuring a positive workplace culture by the compliance of policies, HR has plenty of functions that businesses can’t do without. The employment landscape is complex and ever-changing, and HR helps you navigate that complexity along with ‘all things people.’ If you’ve ever thought about what your business would look like with a team to take the headache out of HR for you, we can show you what that looks like. Reach out to our team to see how we can help.

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