Why Is The HR Department Treated So Badly?

Of late I have seen more lack of appreciation of the HR professionals and the departments they staff, than ever before.  Case in point:

I was recently with one my “C” level clients and got into a discussion of employee retention and using me as a retained recruiter.  The conversation (by him) quickly moved to the HR department and his displeasure.  I almost didn’t believe my ears when he described he Human Resource department as pure overhead expense plus a few other negatives.

Because he and I have successfully done business together several times in the past, I made a conscious decision to put my employee retention hat on and come to the aid of HR folks.  I pointed out to him that most companies (his included) lay the following responsibilities directly onto the HR Director and their staffs’ shoulders: 

Recruiting, Retention, Compliance, Safety, Drug Free Workplace Issues, Benefits, Compensation, Community Events, Disciplinary Counseling, Sexual Harassment Issues, Hostile Work Environment Issues, Job Offers, Terminations, Exit Interviews, New Hire Paperwork, Scheduled Performance Review Paperwork, Handbook Policies And A Confidant To You…..and now you tell me that you view this department as direct overhead line item to your P & L?  Do you really mean that?

I will tell you ladies and gentlemen that after a 2 ½ hour gut wrenching and sometimes professionally heated discussion he said to me; “….You are one of the few people that could get away talking to me like this.  But after listening to you,  I have to admit that I have in all probability misaligned my thinking about our HR staff.  So tell me Mr. Employee Retention Specialist, how to I fix this relationship between  me and the HR team?”  Fortunately the light had come on in his head and we set the healing process in motion.

I tell you this true story because it is played out every day in businesses.  My relationship with the HR department as a retained recruiter and/or retention specialists is one of a business partner not as an adversarial relationship.  Are there bad apples in all industries/job titles?  Of course, but the companies that thrive, seem to willing share respect to all team members beginning at the highest level of management or ownership.  If it is not demonstrated there, it won’t be demonstrated throughout the organizational chart of team players.

I sincerely believe what I’ve told here so much so that I even have an Open Letter To HR Professionals on my website.  The occupation of Human Resource Professional truly ranks in the top five.  Be kind to each other and keep on doing what you do best…..people management.

George F. Mancuso, CPC
Client Growth Consultants, Inc.


  1. Playing double devil's advocate: while all the factors you list are critical to business success, they do not directly impact income/revenue (while we all know they indirectly greatly impact same), so it's not surprising that a C-level would form that opinion. It's akin to the less-than favorable image that HR can sometimes have in employees' eyes: as individuals, HR folks do typically have employees' well-being at heart, but employees know that HR really exists for the company's benefit not the employees'.

    1. If the employee "knows" that HR really exists for the benefit of the company, then I would say that this company has a very poor structure for retention in the first place... Built on the fact the company benefit and employee benefit are mutually exclusive, that it is "either" "or".


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