There was an interesting thread recently on social sharing site reddit. The author asked: “What's the biggest incorrect fact you've always believed and insisted you were right, until you learnt how wrong you were?”
There were some very interesting responses. Did you know, for example, that all different tastes can be detected on all parts of the tongue, and that people use far more than 10% of their brains? Another person pointed out that contrary to popular belief, Napoleon Bonaparte was actually considered taller than average for the time.
All very interesting, but not very HR-related.
Until I read one response:
This was followed by a slew of comments from other commentators which backed up eat_drink_n_b_merry's position.
These are just a sample of this type of response – there were a lot more. But others did chip in, including this response which criticised the 'black-and-white' thinking of the previous posters.
You can check out the full responses to eat_drink_n_b_merry's comment.
There are a few things to consider here:
- Social sharing sites tend to skew very negative and very positive responses because these people are most likely to comment, just as TripAdvisor is likely to make the negative aspects of a hotel seem worse than they are – take that how you will
- While reddit has members across the world, it is a US-dominant site, and is particular popular with 18-30 year old males. I've not looked up or investigated the nationalities or demographics of the commenters in this thread
- There seems to be, among both positive and negative commenters, a clear opinion of HR as an archaic department that is mobilised when needed but otherwise lies dormant, which suggests to me a lot of employees are not aware of how much work HR does in talent management, engagement, onboarding, reporting, etc.
HR is a department of the company, so of course its job is to act in the company's interests – but there's a way to do it to protect the employee as much as possible at the same time. Maybe it's a communication problem. It's definitely an image problem.