What CEOs Really Think about HR

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checkFive interviews given by columnist Meredith Soleau to CEOs of various sized companies reveal a telling (and painful) trend among top-ranking corporate officers in regards to their opinions about the performance and functions of their HR departments: they ain’t happy with them. Highlights of the interviews include several criticisms about priorities, responsiveness, and capabilities of HR personnel. Some of the more untempered responses include:

You are too employee focused. One CEO vented, “Heck, this day and age, almost everyone falls into some sort of class. Why do I have to feel forced to keep people who aren’t performing because you’re too scared – or don’t want – to pull the trigger?”

HR does nothing but shuffle papers.

HR is a poor recruiter.

HR presents problems without presenting solutions. CEOs do want to be aware of problems within their organization, but they also expect some insight into how an issue may be resolved – and without legal counsel. Said one interviewee, “I expect you guys to know the employment laws better than me, and to have strong opinions about what is over your head.”

You preach about performance reviews, yet you have no idea how to manage performance once you get the results.”

HR personnel don’t understand how to work with financial information about the business.

HR issues frequently seem to be mere distractions, in no way contributing to the growth of the company or customer relations. As one CEO opined,Spending a half day discussing a family medical leave issue or a 401(k) problem takes me away from the parts of the business I enjoy most. Any CEO worth his salt knows how important her/his associates are, so we will make time for it, but we look to you all to make sure that the time we spend is impactful and efficient.”

You can read the rest of her comments at FistFulofTalent.

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Rachel, writer for Recruiter.com, has graduate level work in literature and currently works in university administration.