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  • How to Ruin Your Reputation in Human Resources

    Human Resources (HR) is a field that I love. I chose to pursue a career path in HR because I found the function to be the intersection between being able to help people and growing a business, two things that I am passionate about.

    But HR doesn’t always have a good reputation.  When I tell people I’m in HR, I’m greeted by story after story of ineffectual, mistrustful, and useless HR people.  It’s always disturbing to me to hear these HR horror stories about HR people ruining the reputation of my chosen field.

    If you’d like to ruin your reputation in HR, follow these easy steps:

    Be old school.  The field has changed maybe more than any other business function over the last few decades.  You can ruin your reputation by embracing the ways of the old “personnel department”, focusing on files and paperwork and forgetting about being an advocate for employees and management.

    Act like a “Hall Monitor”.  Put on your HR police badge and start roaming the halls looking for evil doers. Discipline people for coming in late, taking a lunch that went a little too long, and checking their Facebook page.  Two demerits for them!

    Ignore the business.  Hey, you’re in HR – you don’t need to know anything about how the business runs, the customers, the market, or other business functions like Finance and IT.  You just stay in your office processing payroll and filing your I-9s.

    Be a corporate spy.  Watch your employees like a hawk and report to management on every move they make.  Don’t ever try to coach an employee through an issue – just go and tattle on them to their boss.This will go a long way in ensuring that you never have positive relationships with employees.

    Plug your ears.  Don’t listen to people.  Just toe the corporate line and show no empathy to employees.  They’re just employees – it doesn’t matter what they have to say, right?

    Keep your mouth shut. You weren’t hired to advise management as to how to have effective relationships with people, motivate their workforce, and improve their performance.  Never speak up to senior leadership about what you think is right.

    Stay in your office all day. Never socialize with employees.  Show no interest in their careers, development, or comfort in the office.

    And the list goes on…what other advice do you have for HR professionals on how they can ruin their reputation?  I’m sure you have an HR horror story…let’s hear it!

    Mike Spinale is a corporate Human Resources leader at a healthcare information technology company located outside of Boston, Massachusetts and is an adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University. He has over eight years of experience in HR and management including career counseling, recruitment, staffing, employment branding, and talent management.  Mike has dedicated his HR career to modern views on the field – HR is not about the personnel files – it’s about bringing on the best talent, ensuring they’re in the right seat, and keeping them motivated and growing in their careers. In addition, Mike is the author of the CareerSpin blog where he offers advice and opinion on job search, personal & employment branding, recruiting, and HR. Mike is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Babson College. He is also a board member of the Metro-North Regional Employment Board, a board which sets workforce development policy for Boston’s Metro-North region, and an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Northeast Human Resources Association.

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    Posted in Brand Yourself As, Career Development, Personal Branding, Reputation Management
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