HR departments… what do they do?

So is this the post that gets me sacked? It may well do as I’m going to have a jolly good moan about HR departments. Actually my company doesn’t have a department of HR experts, just one HR person based in California. Team meetings must be interesting! Anyway, I’m not moaning about her in particular because I actually like her as a person. HR in general has always mystified me. Even working for a large government organisation years ago, it always seemed that it was all about job creation – lots of paperwork to fill out but did they ever venture out of their offices, hell no. Nowadays, I’m not at all sure what our HR does. A new account executive has just joined and since the email went out welcoming him to the company from the co-founder, I’ve had to deal with sorting out his phone while my colleague is sorting out other aspects of training. The part that bugs me is I have had no warning over this extra work from HR. At least a week to get everything arranged would have been nice. I’ve had no notification if he is working from home or in the office. If he is in the office then he will need a key, which takes time to arrange.

My overall picture of HR is hiring/firing people, training new staff, formulating good appraisal systems, help with booking training, arranging benefits and helping with the UK laws on employment law. Not sure what the US has for employment laws but I gather there are some. Out of those sections that I have mentioned, I can only think of the actual hiring part that has been done lately and that doesn’t happen often. My real bug bear is our CEO keeps mentioning that all the benefits in the UK are in-line with other UK companies. We don’t get any benefits and I’m sure they are confusing National Insurance, the NHS and paying for your own pension as benefits. Considering National Insurance is paid out of my salary and is a legal requirement I wouldn’t class it as a benefit. Also, we have three colleagues on or going to be on maternity leave and because the UK law says you can have a year off (most of it is unpaid) whereas in America you are lucky to get three months, I think they class that as a benefit. Call me cynical but I don’t think there is any work going on there for UK benefits. Well, that was a bit of a rant – I’m all calm now!


3 Responses to “HR departments… what do they do?”

  1. 1 Mark February 5, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Well said,
    No matter how big or small a company, the thing they all have in common, is the unbeleivable stupidity of the HR department. Our HR department is so rubbish, they had to creat a whole new department to take on the role of staff training!
    Actually come to think of it, they dont do firing or hiring! they only seem to get involved with disciplinary action. And even then all the work is done by other people, they just turn up to make sure “procedures are followed correctly”
    Hey I feel better now as well.

  2. 2 Otto Mann February 5, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Everyone deserves to rant every now and then. You bring up some good points.


  3. 3 Kate W February 6, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I too concur – just what are they for? I have a friend who works in HR, and she’s just been made redundant. Since roles which are the least useful are usually the ones which are cut first in a recession, this may prove the point that HR isn’t useful!

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