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Crimes against your HR department

Hi All,

I found this in one of my emails that my friend who works in HR sent me, thought I would share!


Sometimes HR gets a bad rep. We are called ‘Human Remains’, and get the blame for everything from the annual pay rise to a decision to restructure. There is however one thing in HR that is more frustrating than anything else (and if I am honest, there is a lot to choose from). This is the line manager who thinks that somewhere in my desk drawer, underneath the policies, employment law guides and my spare pair of tights, is a magic wand. You know the wand I mean, the one that magically sorts out all employee issues, without them having to do a single, difficult thing.

Well folks, Mavis Cruet I ain’t. (Note: this joke is for Gen X and above only).

So here are my top ten line manager crimes against their HR team, compiled from several companies over 12 years. 

1. You have a major, long term capability with an individual in your team. Only you just haven’t mentioned it to them in any of their appraisals or 121s, but you want HR to sort it out, like yesterday.

2. Someone in your team has a body odour problem. And you think it is better someone in HR tells them about this, rather than you. You know, their actual line manager, someone they know, rather than someone in HR that they don’t.

3. You want to make someone in your team redundant. Only you want to replace them. Because this is easier than dealing with the real issue (see point one).

4. You know the right person for the job, so you don’t want to go through any sort of recruitment process. And then when they turn out to be not so good after all, you want HR to deal with it.

5. I tell you that what you want to do has risks. You do it, it blows up in your face, and then you miraculously forget our conversation.

6. You think that I can ‘make an employment tribunal claim go away’. Yes, because the ET system works like that. I just ring up the Judge and slip them a fiver and bingo! No legal costs

7. One of your team does something wrong (e.g. uploads some facebook pics in work time, takes a smoke break too many) so rather than deal with the individual problem, you want a blanket ban company wide, on whatever it is.

8. You give a recruitment agency that we don’t have any terms with the details of all your vacancies, and then moan at me when the process breaks down and they try and charge 25% after the fact. Just because they agency tells you that they are really good and have loads of suitable candidates for your vacancy.

9. You think HR extends to managing expenses (finance), the coffee machine (facilities), updating the intranet (IT) or car parking arrangements (anybody, please).

10. You think employment law is ridiculous and want me to find a way round it. Without spending any money, or presenting the business with any risk.

Ahhh. That feels so much better. So what was the point of this blog/ rant? Only this: your HR department can only do so much. You have to work with them, over the long term. We are there to advise, support, help you achieve your strategic goals. Understand that there are few short term solutions to your employee issues if you want to do it right and without risk. We are only human (resources).

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  • A great list Rachel, and I can think of plenty of times when many of these have happened.

    The most recent was yesterday and probably fits in at No 9 on your list.  "It's too warm in my office. That must be an HR problem - can you sort it out please?".   As it happens, simply turning own the radiator was my suggestion - and it worked!

    Mustn't forget the classic before Christmas which I'm sure I mentioned elsewhere when one of the staff came to my office in obvious distress. I closed the door, prepared the box of tissues and asked how I could help... " There is no turkey on the menu for the Christmas lunch. You are HR - can you sort it out please?"



  • What a great start to my Monday!!!!

    This is my first active response on this page, but feels so good to know I aint alone! 

    Over the weekend I was doubting whether I was doing something wrong as at present it feels most problems require my team to resolve it ; but reading this has reassured me!  Thanks again for sharing.... Have a GREAT week!

    • Hi Yvette

      Glad it made you smile and this community page is a great place if you work in HR, you'll see from my posts I have more than my fair share of issues so get involved as you can get some great support on here, I know I do!


    • Morning Yvette and thanks for 'coming out' so to speak. You are definitely not alone and we hope to hear from you again as you've put me in a great mood this morning. Thanks!!

  • Great list and brought a smile to my face.

    On a more serious note, sadly all these are endemic in the culture of the workplace you work in and are symptoms of a lack of understanding of what HR is but more importantly howan individuals behaves and acts in work and deals with issues in the proper /adult/ professional manner. Either that or it's an attitude and behaviour issue which needs to be addressed and if it isn't then it's a performance issue that needs to be addressed otherwise HR will always be the 'go to guys' coz "I can't be arsed sorting it out myself"

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