Note to Universe — Get a Clue About HR

One of my biggest pet peeves about people outside of the human resource industry is their lack of understanding about what exactly HR does.  Human resources is not solely about hiring and firing.  It’s about the entire business process from technology to leadership to marketing.

Note to Universe — Get a Clue About HR

I dare you to poll your marketing teams, front line managers, or finance department.  Trust me, they haven’t got a clue — about HR that is.

The human resources and talent management industries are a very active and innovative community who quietly and quickly navigates and supports the operational underworkings of most organizations.  Human resources much like your information technology team are the silent type navigating potential pitfalls, mitigating risks, all with a smile on their face and an extra box of Kleenex in their offices.

But outside of the human resource practioner, there is another segment of the industry that is often overlooked.  That is, my friends our HR, talent management, and human capital services and vendors.  Some of the most innovative companies, individuals, agencies, and organizations are innovating in our industry in amazing and interesting ways.  We are extremely forward thinking and innovative in so many ways.

As a human resource subject matter expert who blogs, speaks, and writes about various topics related to the business, I consider myself a true generalist.  I’ve had my share of experiences as a corporate human resource practioner working with service providers to build assessments, improve screening processes, and evaluate employee benefits programs.  I know first hand that there is more to working in human resources than hiring and firing.  People management and human capital management is much more complicated in so, so many ways.

So how do we change this perception? Yes, I said we. Because no one else is going to do it other than ourselves.  The best way to help others is to first help yourself.

I’m not one to point fingers but the lack of awareness outside of our industry is due to our own unwillingness to grab a chair, share a lunch, and get out there.  Getting out there means we much write, preach, and educate from outside the safe, warm, and fuzzy confines of our HR office, and start the conversation.  Begin focusing your conversations, topics, and areas of effort on industries, agencies, and communities outside of the world of HR.

How do you think that we can educate outside industries, company peers, and the public that there is more to HR?

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. John Jorgensen says

    Another good post Jessica. And I agree that “we” are the ones who need to correct this. I don’t see people beating a path to us to find out what HR does. HR trench pros need to get out and meet with the other functions in the organization to let those functions know what HR can do for them and to learn what they do. We can’t expect other functions to care about what we do if we don’t understand how the other functions contribute to the organization.

  2. Renee says

    Create an HR presence. Get on the shop floor. Invite yourself to the safety meetings. Have a say on quality issues. Propose a way to meet deliveries. Go to people’s work areas. Invite yourself to production meetings. Show your business acumen and that you are a business LEADER vs business partner or generalist or anything else they call us. Good luck everyone!


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