How much power does HR have

A lot of objections or questions which cross our mind when we start working or at work is:

  • Should i be-friend the HR of the company?
  • What is human resources (HR) after all?
  • Why do we even NEED human resources in an organization?
  • How much power does HR have?

Just like the working of Boeing 747, in order for a company to work seamlessly at its best performance, there needs to be harmony in the system’s every different contributing elements, i.e. ‘the employees’. Unlike machinery, when it comes to employees, a lot more variables need to be taken into consideration – the needs of an employee within an organization, for starters. Ideally, in every organization, the team that helps the employees reach a united goal constitutes the Human Resources.

The general misconception about HR folks waiting to pounce on you for a plethora of reasons from hiring to firing you, has sort of demonized Human resources, classifying them as the puppet masters’ right hand / the men behind the curtain. Consequentially, there’s always an unexplained and unwarranted fear when an employee gets called to HR (assuming they have secret powers), especially when it’s not the appraisal season.

It is crucial to understand that while it is true that HR Department is solely responsible for the human resources of the organisation, EVERY manager in EVERY department is also a part of the HR department as they deal with employees. These divisional HR managers along with the HR department ensures smooth operations. Hence HR function is also known as a support function in the organisation.

How much power does HR have and how does HR Department support the Organization:

The HR department, as discussed in the article HR’S do not work, has many aspects. One of them being the strategic HR department. This department is responsible for creating harmony between the goals of the organisation as well as the betterment of its employees. This department makes decisions on the intentions and plans of the organization concerning the employee relationship and other components related to employee life cycle, like, recruitment, training, performance management, policies and procedures etc. These policies are then reviewed by the head of the organisation and implemented, only after his / her approval. Having said that, HR is often seen as a scapegoat by the management. They are the ones who usually get the brunt of negative attitude, even though they are not the decision makers.  More often than not, HRs are used as message bearers while sacking people, whereas it might be an operational decision. The promise your boss made to give you a raise or promotion did not happen because may be it was never conveyed to the HR!! But yet, it is tagged that HRs do not look out for their employees.

It is a very common perception that HRs have powers and can do miracles; That, by merely reaching out to them with your concerns, you get your solutions. On the contrary, it is difficult as not everyone understands that every situation is different.

What might seem unfair or biased to one, might be well within the boundaries of defined, policies and acceptable workplace behaviour.

In my opinion it is crucial that employees are made aware of the policies, so that they come prepared when they come to speak to the HR and do not have unrealistic expectations.


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