How to Make HR Suck Less, in 3 Easy-to-Follow Steps

Are you working in a HR department that sucks? You know if you are, it’s alright, you can admit it – it’s the first step of changing it.

I bet I talk to over a hundred HR Pros a year that begin the conversation with, “our HR department sucks!” or “my company doesn’t get it when it comes to HR,” or “Our HR department is terrible.” These aren’t the outliers, they’re the norm.

So, many HR Pros are working in HR functions where the organization has the feeling that “HR” sucks in our company. If you’re not in one now, great, but chances are you have either been in one before, or eventually you’ll make a “grass is greener” decision and put yourself into this situation.

You know what? We have the power to make HR Suck Less. Yes, you do. Stop it, you do. No really, you do. Alright that’s enough, just play along with me at least!

The 3 key steps

Here are the three steps to making HR Suck Less:

  1. Stop doing stuff that Sucks. But Tim, we have to do this stuff! No you don’t. If your HR shop blew up tomorrow, your organization would still go on. Over time you’ve “negotiated” to do all this sucky stuff thinking it would “help” the organization, or give you “influence,” etc. Stop that. Give it away, push it out to other departments, and start doing stuff that doesn’t suck more than doing stuff that does suck. It’s not easy, but it can be done, little by little.
  2. Get rid of people in HR who Suck. Some people get real comfortable with sucking. They wear their suckiness around like a badge of honor. You need to cut the suck out of your department – like cancer!
  3. Stop saying that you Suck. We brand ourselves internally with everything we do, and if you say that you suck at something, the organization will believe you suck at something. If you say we are the best in the industry at recruiting our competitions talent away from them, you’ll be forced to live up to that – and little by little ,you will live up to it and the organization will begin to believe it as well. Signs and symbols matter!

Yes, you can do things differently

Every single HR Shop who feels they suck doesn’t have to suck. If you feel you don’t suck, but everyone else tells you that you suck, well, you suck. You’re just delusional and you keep telling yourself things like “we have to do this stuff,” “it’s the law,” “we don’t have a choice.” etc. This is the first sign you’re comfortable with sucking, because you aren’t listening to your organization.

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No one has to suck; you can decide to do things in a complete different way. Perception is reality in terms of sucking. You need to change perceptions, not reality. You can still accomplish the exact same things, just do it in a way that makes people think you rock. Start saying “Yes” to everything – not “No-No.” sucks.

Sucking less is a decision, not a skill. You all have the skills, you just need to make the decision, to stand up and believe that, “Today we will no longer Suck!”

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.

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2 Comments on “How to Make HR Suck Less, in 3 Easy-to-Follow Steps

  1. Ideas to stop sucking:

    1 – Stop trying to have influence.  HR should be helpers, not leaders.
    2 – Stop trying to normalize salaries.  If the manager feels someone deserves a 10% bump, and has it in their budget, don’t fight it.
    3 – Remember that company policy is a guideline, not a rulebook. What works for one group may not work for another.  Trying to shoehorn everyone into one way will immediately get you labeled as “SUCK”

  2. If suckiness is the norm, how does one accomplish #2? If you are the sole voice of reason, holding on for dear life to every possible way to avoid sucking – even being acknowledged for not sucking (as in being told by biz partners “you’re not like other HR people” or “you are the only one in that dept that gets it, does any valuable work, etc.”) – yet you are surrounded and immersed in a suckfest, what do you do? ~ KB @TalentTalks 

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