HR Is Never Allowed to Tell You No

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As a leader, HR is never allowed to tell you no. That should feel good to read.

On the other hand, it’s not the purview of your local HR department to tell you yes, either.

  • HR is there to advise you.
  • HR is there to help you get stuff done.
  • HR can weigh in with an opinion.

But you and you alone are responsible for your decisions. You are a leader. You are in charge.

Mandatory sexual harassment training? Fair pay? Discriminating against gay people? Do what you want. HR can tell you the rules — if there are any federal, state or local rules — but you make the final call.

Part of being the boss means that you are responsible for all aspects of your business. This includes everything from compensation to performance to recruiting. For example, who told you it is HR’s job to find a replacement for someone who quits? Technically, that’s your job.

While a recruiter can develop a candidate pool and help you meet qualified people, you and you alone know your business. You build redundancies into every other aspect of your business. You should know the next person you are going to hire without waiting for someone to quit.

And the same thing goes for every other aspect of human capital management. While I am happy to take a paycheck and work in HR, it’s really your job as a leader to do this work. And in a world where everybody hates HR, the answer to the problem is really simple:

  • If you hate HR so much, do it yourself.

You should be doing it, anyway.

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