Trust me, I’m in HR

I am interested in HR and the conflicts that seem to exist within; and I’m interested in how the HR function  inadvertently gets in its own way.  I read a lot about the role of HR.

Generally I think more about the workplace from the perspective how people plan and work together than I do specifically HR and its systems.  From time to time, like most people, I work with HR and sometimes it’s good, and sometimes, it’s not so good.

It seems to me that much of HR and reinforcing management systems are based on mistrust.   In particular, mistrust of middle managers, who in turn, mistrust their staff.  Or does the mistrust start with the managers and contaminate the HR perspective?

Sometimes in our on line world, my impression is that those working in HR view others as somehow, less.

I wonder – if you work in HR do you trust the people you work with?

  • Do you trust managers to decide what “appropriate dress” looks like in practice, even if you disagree?
  • Do you trust a manager to make a judgement over whether a member of their team is competent in a particular area – even if you disagree?
  • Do you trust managers to be able to make choices over when, who and why they recruit someone – even if you disagree?
  • Do you trust them to be able to make their own meaning of the relationships around them?
  • Do you trust them to be able to make choices and decisions that are different from those that you may make?

Do you trust yourself?

Do you want your colleagues to trust you?

The “you” in this question may be you, the reader, or it may be the function within which you work.  Whichever, I see and hear so much control, and so much distrust on both sides, so many systems built to control.

Is there something you can let go of so that people can flourish through their own discovery?  The most effective managers are their own mini HR function.    How can invite more managers to be their own tour de force ?

What could be better for your organisation if building mutual trust were the focus of your attention?

“I do my thing and you do yours.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
And if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful.
If not, it can’t be helped.”
Frederick S. Perls”


6 thoughts on “Trust me, I’m in HR

  1. These thoughts underpin my Hack for the CIPD. We often don’t trust managers. We are risk adverse. We write very detailed policies and procedures and channel people towards impersonal shared service centres giving off the shelf advice. This means managers don’t have to decide or use their brains. The whole thing sets up a parent child relationship.
    My Hack is designed to start to change this. Kev Wyke doing a great one on trust too.

  2. Great blog and some great responses that I resonate with. Somewhere amongst the enormous fear of the unknown (the risk profile that has consumed business) to the raison d’etre of our more comfortable HR generalists to exist in a system of their creation where managers can’t use their own judgement, to managers who enjoy the ‘concierge’ service they recieve is a tough cookie to break.

    I think a close bedfellow of mistrust is its ugly sister blame that is never far away….

  3. ‘Blame gives us a semblance of control, but blame is simply discharging discomfort and pain (anger), and has an inverse relationship w accountability’. Dr Brene Brown

    ‘Where what you say and what you do overlap you get trust. And that’s cool. Where they don’t, you get trouble. And that’s what you deserve’. Yours truly.

    Your blog asks a great set of questions – ones that many people, not just HR folk, could and should be asking. Wouldn’t it be interesting to explore the answers to some of these with clients?

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