Sure fire ways to ruin your HR career

by HCA12 May 2015
In order to truly grow as a business function, HR must continue its integration as a principal player in the formulation business strategy – yet according to one HR leader, some HR professionals are stuck in the past.

For Mike Spinale, an HR leader at a US-based healthcare information technology company, and adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University, too often he hears horror stories of ineffectual and mistrusted HR people.

“It’s always disturbing to me to hear these HR horror stories about HR people ruining the reputation of my chosen field,” he commented on the Personal Branding Blog.

Spinale points out a number of ways he has witnessed HR professional’s diminishing their own reputations, and the reputation of the business function as a whole. Do any of his points spell home-truths?

Remaining ‘old school’ – One sure way to ruin an HR reputation is to embrace the ways of the old ‘personnel department’ – if day-in day-out you’re focused on files and paperwork instead of being an advocate for employees and management, you haven’t caught up to HR in 2015.

Policing your team – disciplining team members for coming in late, taking a lunch that went a little too long, and checking their Facebook page.

Remaining separate from the business  you don’t need to know anything about how the business runs, the customers, the market, or other business functions like Finance and IT, right? Your job is the hirer and the firer.

Being a corporate spy. Watch your employee’s every move and reporting to the powers above. Instead of coaching an employee through an issue, you report their conduct. This will go a long way in ensuring that you never have positive relationships with employees.

Keep your mouth zipped. You weren’t hired to advise management as to how to have effective relationships with people, motivate their workforce, and improve their performance. Never speak up to senior leadership about changes you think need to be implemented.

Stay in your office all day. Never socialise with employees. Show no interest in their careers, development, or comfort in the office.


  • by Colin from Oz 12/05/2015 11:47:00 AM

    I agree with most of what you say, but if you don't "police your team", then who will? Sorry, but if you allow poor punctuality and tardiness to go unchecked it will cause you a lot of issues, including the impact of other staff seeing this kind of behaviour being allowed.

  • by Patrick 12/05/2015 11:47:17 AM

    Years ago went for a job HR/Payroll Officer job at a large financial institution, I asked the HR Manager and Op's Manger to list 5 HR duties. They could only name one so I thought I would help out and said maybe the responsible person could help out with OHS in the office. The HR Manager then told me "Those laws don't affect us". I know it wouldn't ruin her/his career but realised I didn't want my career and life cut short from her/his ignorance.

  • by Faisal 12/05/2015 1:57:11 PM

    Good article. It's important to focus on a culture that nourishes the change we want to see in employees rather than police the employees.

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