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  • Writer's pictureRyan Jones

Sometimes Human Resources (HR) just gets in the way

Before I attract all the haters, know that I’m a huge fan of formalized HR teams, and they serve an extremely valuable service to any organization.

Now, let me explain.

As businesses grow and as they become more global and have dozens of divisions, the idea of centralizing services is very cost-effective and a smart thing to do. However, centralizing HR services also has a cost. The further you are away from the branches of the tree, the more disconnected you can become from the actual needs of the leaders in different areas. Processes and red tape that serve a purpose to keep things consistent and keep things "fair" across the company can become shackles for leaders trying to lead and grow their teams.

A line leader of a manufacturing team, in almost all cases, doesn’t have the same challenges and needs as, say, a team leader of software developers. The process to hire the two different roles, onboard them, and retain them couldn’t be further from the same. Yet if you follow many HR policies, there isn’t much room for leaders to alter processes. In the age of fairness, equality, and fear of lawsuits, leaders at all different levels are stuck with jumping through the HR system.

Again, I’m a fan of HR and the central role they play, but my message is to hope that there is strong communication and flexibility between all levels of leadership and HR teams to build trust and latitude to do the best (and right) thing for their teams. Contention between leaders and HR policies can make for a frustrating work environment for everyone involved, and at the end of the day, the leaders and HR want the same thing: to grow and to retain talent for the benefit of the company.

If you find that HR is getting in your way as a leader, be a strong enough leader for your team to have an honest discussion to figure out how to make it better for everyone.

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