Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why is HR Always Difficult?

I really wonder why HR is difficult at most companies.  It's odd because

  • It is one of those things that is found at every company.

  • It is pretty much the same job function at every company.

  • It is one of the more important things at every company as people really care about their benefits, pay, promotions, etc.

You would think that after all these years HR would be down to a science.  I haven't had any major problems at my new job that couldn't be dealt with but at the same time it hasn't been the smoothest of things either.  I need to go to the eye doctor and somehow my information didn't make it to the insurance company, so I have to wait until they can go and process it.  I'm kind of on a tight time line because I want to get some glasses for driving before I drive from Seattle to Los Angeles in a few weeks.  It's just one of those things that should have been taken care of that isn't.  It's probably because they deal with such sensitive and important issues that one minor slip up seems magnified. So perhaps I am being a little unfair.

Now in fairness, I never really used HR at Microsoft because I never really had a problem.  They take good care of their employees, almost too good if you ask me.  The nice thing about Microsoft is that you can take care of most things on your own without ever having to deal with another human being.   Want to change your benefits, do it online.  Want to take vacation, just do it yourself online.  Maybe that's the key to things, take the "human" out of Human Resources.

What are your thoughts?  Have you had issues with your HR department?


  1. I completely agree and I've wondered about the same thing for a long time. When I was interviewing, I came across one or two REALLY good HR managers and I found it funny that I was stunned that they were so good, because normally they're all the same and they have very bad attitudes. It also made me start to wonder why the majority of HR departments are difficult to deal with.

    Now that I'm working for the UC system, one of the really cool things they have is a website for all of the benefits. And it actually works. I signed up for all of my stuff and two weeks later, all of my cards and info came in the mail and my name was actually spelled right (which is a common problem for me).

    At my previous work, the HR manager was terrible. She ran through assistants and receptionists (basically anyone she supervised) at an alarming rate. Turnover is expensive and during a time when we were having management meetings where they were telling us to cut down on costs, it was never brought up. She was also very hypocritical, which is also frustrating. She would send out emails pointing out things and she was the biggest offender of whatever she was pointing out.

  2. At my current job, I wonder what my HR department does. My company outsources everything from payroll to benefits. So when I need to change my health benefits, all HR does is gives me a phone number to call.

    I suppose HR handles training and development. However, the classes they offer aren't always helpful. Introductory at best.