Mythbuster - HR Only Cares About Compliance

By Kathryn Adderley
05 Aug 2019

With the amount of myths surrounding the HR department, you’d think HR Managers would have names like Hercules and Odysseus.

Some of the most popular and prevalent myths include insightful proverbs such as:

“If HR is in the room… someone’s about to get fired.”

“HR is always a roadblock.”

“HR will always take the company’s side.”

And finally, our personal favourite, (and the one we’ll be addressing today):

“HR only cares about compliance.”

As you’ve gathered, these don’t paint HR in the best light. Why?

Partly, it’s due to a fundamental misunderstanding of what an HR department should do. Because, like the mythical Hydra, HR has to wear many different hats.

The many hats of HR

Here’s a list of what your HR department should be responsible for:

  • Recruitment;
  • Benefits;
  • Compensation;
  • Evaluations;
  • Training & development;
  • Incentives;
  • Termination;
  • And yes, compliance.

Now, that’s a long list, and it doesn’t cover the minutiae of what HR professionals do on a day-to-day basis. Not least because HR might be called upon to don other hats.

A conflict resolution cap, for example.

If a dispute arises between two colleagues, HR is the first port of call. Disputes can occur from something as simple as a stolen lunch, and escalate surprisingly fast.

In that scenario, compliance isn’t a consideration—the only thing that matters is achieving a resolution.

This doesn’t mean compliance doesn’t have its place. In fact…

Compliance is the foundation of success

Whether you’re setting up a new business or you run an international conglomerate, compliance is integral to the success of your organisation.

That’s why HR departments care so much about compliance.

That, and the fact that failure to comply with UK law can land you with substantial fines, an employment tribunal, or closure of your business.

Ultimately, the laws that are in place are to ensure you’re running your business correctly, and efficiently.

Failing to comply will not only damage the business, but all of its staff too.

UK employment law changes all the time which is why it’s so difficult to stay compliant—It’s a maze—a labyrinth—with HR as your guide.

HR is about people

We’ve spoken a lot about compliance, but what about the other areas HR cover?

Ultimately, HR is about people. The previous areas we listed? Add the word ‘employee’ in front of them, and see what you get:

  • Employee benefits
  • Employee training & development
  • Employee evaluations

And so on.

Angela Connor, Director at Inspire HQ summarises it best:

“An HR Consultant can give you the frameworks, develop and implement the systems, coach you on how to have the conversations, help you adjust your style to suit your audience or be a sounding board to bounce thoughts and ideas around with before you discuss with your team…

An HR Consultant can support and demonstrate the understanding, listening, communicating (a lot), supporting, caring, involving, encouraging, believing and asking.

However, when it comes to the crunch it’s these behaviours that when demonstrated by the business owner and the leaders in our business, are the most powerful. That’s how you will truly set your business up for HR management success.”

Essentially, if your HR department concerns itself with compliance and nothing else, then it’s performing the bare minimum of its role.

To get the most out of your people, your HR department, and your business, you need to develop a people-focused workplace culture supported by HR.

Getting that right is tricky—and there will be stumbling blocks and mistakes along the way—luckily that’s why Croner is here.

Need some extra support with your HR strategy? Call one of our HR experts today on 01455 858 132.


About the Author

Kathryn Adderley

Kathryn Adderley is Croner's Senior Content Executive, responsible for producing, sourcing, and organising content across the website. She has a background of working agency side as a copywriter in the marketing industry and is also responsible for Croner's social media channels, so keep your eyes peeled for fresh content!