18 HR Myths and Stereotypes (and How to Debunk Them)

travail d'équipe
Morgane Lança
December 19 2022

If you work in human resources, you may have heard many stereotypes about HR practices and processes. You might have come across HR memes on the topic. Unfortunately, these common myths have been around for a long time in all professional spheres. Now is the time to debunk them, one step at a time!

HR Myth #1: "HR has nothing to do with business strategy"

Although HR departments have “gained a seat at the table” these past few years, some people still think they have nothing to do with business strategy.

Truth

We are sure this is not new information for you, but the success of your business goals heavily relies on human productivity. As such, HR should be involved in every action plan as it covers the workforce aspects of all organizational strategies. Employee performance, high retention rates and happiness at work are some HR strategic assets that should always be considered in your business plans!

HR Myth #2: "HR works for the company’s interests, not for its employees"

Balancing business processes with employees’ expectations can be challenging, leading to the misconception that HR doesn’t care about employees. So let’s lay this harmful stereotype to rest!

Truth

HR management is all about the balance between organizational goals and employee well-being. Supporting a company means supporting its employees!

Healthy communication between HR and employees is mandatory to ensure the smooth running of your business. Although your HR department should be involved in business strategy, you should also give them time to listen to employees’ demands.

HR Myth #3: "HR processes are necessarily excruciating and outdated"

The HR department is rarely seen as the most modern or innovative team in the company. However, archetypical HR processes can evolve to adapt to the modern workplace!

Truth

HR can and should modernize processes to avoid repetitive and time-consuming paperwork.

Centralizing processes with HR technology streamlines tasks and prevents headaches.

For instance, with good HR software, employees can create their PTO requests, access their time banks, and receive notifications of their manager’s validation without ever reaching out to HR. A time saver for everyone involved!

HR Myth #4: "HR is all about people and doesn’t consider reliable data"

When you think of HR, numbers and data are not the first words that come to mind. And yet…

Truth

Why not use staff management to gather valuable information? HR data-driven decisions can truly become the backbone of your business strategies. KPIs and employee feedback help ensure productivity and sound corporate culture.

HR Myth #5: "HR only exists to ensure attendance, compliance and performance"

In some people’s minds, HR is often reduced to the perfunctory role of ensuring compliance, attendance and performance. In short, this misconception presents human resources as a merely regulatory role in the organization.

Truth

HR covers the entire employee lifecycle to optimize experience and well-being. Of course, this mission includes tracking compliance, monitoring regulations, and improving employees’ daily lives with various action plans. Managing people, workplace issues and regulations on top of participating in business strategies sounds a lot more exciting than the myth, right?

HR Myth #6: "HR management is static and uninspired"

HR often gets a bad reputation for allegedly being unchanging and monotonous. Does this theory hold up in this day and age?

Truth

HR practices can – and should – be modern and creative! Nowadays, human resources professionals have to work on many aspects of workplace diversity, mental health policies, hybrid work systems and much more, while managing various employee profiles and ensuring workplace morale. If there ever is a time for HR to be creative, it is definitely now!

HR Myth #7: "HR doesn’t listen to employees’ demands"

Employees often feel isolated from decision-making and have no voice or power over what happens in the company. So what can HR do to remedy the situation?

Truth

Efficient HR management requires collecting feedback from employees and building plans to solve workforce issues. For example, employee engagement surveys and exit interview surveys are tools HR uses to value employee feedback and take action on employee complaints. If you have not yet surveyed your employees, now is a great time to start! 

Psst… you’ll find a free exit interview template here.

HR Myth #8: "HR is just a bonus for your company"

Some people think that having an HR department only concerns bigger companies, not startups or SMBs. While we understand where that belief comes from, we certainly don’t believe that good HR management is optional or unattainable.

Truth

HR is the pillar of your company culture and should be at the forefront of all your plans. Indeed, if employees are your greatest strength, efficient HR management is the path to ensure business success.

HR Myth #9: "Technology can replace HR professionals"

These past few years, word got around that HR tech was on its way to replace HR professionals. Here’s why we think this is just a pesky myth.

Truth

One common HR misconception that I’ve had to deal with over the years is that everything HR does can be automated. The assumption is that as HR automation continues to gain momentum, technology will eventually replace people in this critical business function. Many believe that HR is mainly an administrative function, and as such can be easily replaced by advanced technology and artificial intelligence. 

Technology is undoubtedly changing HR, but not to the extent of replacing HR professionals and teams. Technologically-advanced HR solutions are taking up the repetitive, low-level administrative tasks that previously consumed copious amounts of HR’s time and resources, leaving HR teams to focus on more strategic tasks that add immense value to the business and its employees. Technology is just a tool that makes HR teams more efficient, and is in no way capable of undertaking the more creative, and strategic tasks that HR professionals execute on a daily basis. Andrew Cussens, Owner of FilmFolk

HR technological tools are not meant to be a danger to the HR department. It is rather the opposite, as these solutions represent an opportunity for HR to evolve, save time and focus on strategic plans, thus being more involved in essential business strategies. As such, HR tech operates in harmony with HR professionals and aims to simplify their practices so that they can focus on the more strategic side of their job.

HR Myth #10: "HR only focuses on the onboarding step of employee experience"

Making a good first impression on new employees is a must-have in a comprehensive employer brand strategy. HR professionals know that, hence the misconception that they only focus on onboarding to impress their employees, thus neglecting the rest of their workforce.

Truth

Efficient HR management and optimal employee experience do not stop at onboarding! Every HR process is integral to a comprehensive employee experience, including recruitment, performance reviews and one-on-one meetings.

Many micro-actions come with HR management. They might not be as noticeable as the clear steps enacted during the onboarding plan, but they’re just as crucial.

Check out our blog if you want tips to improve staff experience throughout the entire employee lifecycle. You’ll find many valuable tips and tricks that will debunk HR stereotypes in the blink of an eye!

HR Myth #11: "Working in HR doesn’t require a wide range of skills"

Another common HR stereotype is the idea that working in HR only requires people skills. Here are the reasons why this myth needs to be disproven!

Truth

In addition to people skills, HR management requires an analytical mind, creativity and strategic thinking. These soft skills are crucial for your organizational health and reveal the importance of human resources in modern companies.

HR Myth #12: "HR can be managed with paper files and Excel sheets"

Many companies still rely on manual processes to manage HR. From paper files to Excel sheets, these traditional methods are becoming more outdated every day, especially in an increasingly flexible working world.

Truth

Rigid processes = unnecessary stress. This saying is relevant both for employees and managers. Indeed, streamlining processes with HR tech supports employee performance and satisfaction and saves you time daily. Technological solutions are also adapted to employees’ new flexibility, work-life balance, and autonomy expectations.

With efficient HR tools and modern practices, human resources management will never again be one of your worst nightmares!

HR Myth #13: "HR operates alone and does not communicate with other departments"

Some people argue that HR likes to play solo and does not share news and decisions with coworkers. Is there truth to this statement?

Truth

Synergy encourages good energy! HR is more efficient when working in cohesion with other teams and needs to be aware of everything that is going on in the organization. Streamlining HR processes with dedicated HR software is a great way to ensure seamless communication between teams.

HR Myth #14: "HR is a killjoy"

Let’s be honest: we have all heard at least once that HR was a buzzkill, a killjoy, a downer or the fun police… to name but a few. Human resources professionals are often associated with strict rules and protocol – the best example of that is Toby from The Office! How can we overcome this misconception?

Truth

On the one hand, the HR department is in charge of protocol and ensures that rules are followed. But, on the other hand, it also organizes much-awaited team-building activities, consequently improving the work environment for everyone. And what’s a little bit of regulation when you get to have loads of fun?

HR Myth #15: "HR only cares about hiring and dismissing employees"

One of the biggest misconceptions in HR, and probably the most harmful, is that it only cares about hiring and firing employees. Unfortunately, this myth underestimates the scope of HR management and designates it as the enemy.

Truth

Although recruitment is a vital component of HR and dismissals are never fun, let’s not forget that HR supports employees throughout their entire lifecycle. We could turn this stereotype on its head and say that the resilience required to manage touchy workforce subjects is admirable. Virtual high five to all HR pros!

HR Myth #16: "HR management cannot be efficient in remote work contexts"

The recent growth of remote and hybrid work models has brought new challenges and questions to remote HR management. For example, can remote employees be managed effectively in the long run?

Truth

Managing remote employees takes great communication and teamwork, but it’s far from impossible! Optimizing remote HR management can be done in a few steps:

  • Using the right remote work tools;
  • Staying informed on remote work trends;
  • Improve all management processes, such as remote onboarding;
  • Keeping the team spirit alive through virtual team-building events.

HR Myth #17: "HR is not a growth field"

Similarly to the idea that HR is static and does not require skills, some say that it is not a field in which you can grow professionally. Considering the fast changes in today’s world of work, we doubt it!

Truth

The world of work is ever-changing, with new positions created daily to fill the latest needs. As we have seen, HR has become a strategic asset for their companies. Therefore,we can expect different roles to emerge in human resources shortly, allowing HR professionals to take on new challenges.

HR Myth #18: "HR will soon become obsolete"

We previously mentioned the growing importance of technology in HR management. However, with these changes comes a fear of replacement or even disappearance of human resources in today’s fast-paced world of work. 

Truth

At Folks, we think the exact opposite! HR is a field that is bound to grow in importance and complexity in the future. With new staff challenges such as the great resignation, quiet quitting and work-life balance, we are willing to bet that HR will be the key to business success in years to come. 

That’s why we are more passionate than ever about offering affordable, powerful and flexible HR solutions to support HR professionals and managers and participating in the evolution of HR management! 

Just like all the aforementioned stereotypes, open communication is key when it comes to busting misconceptions. Let your employees know they are welcome to ask questions to the HR department anytime they need and be transparent about the changes in your company!

Discover how our HR tech can support your management practices:

Debunk frustrating HR stereotypes with Folks HR’s complete solutions!

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