HR Is Not Your Friend - Fortune

There is an article in the recent (March 2018) Fortune magazine. This edition is a boastful look at the 100 best companies to work for in 2018. They even boast that these companies have 160,288 job openings.


But embedded in this magazine is an article with a sinister title and an even more imposing subtitle. The article is titled: HR Is Not Your Friend.

And the subtitle takes it a step further when it states: "That cheerful person from Human Resources may seem nice. Heck, she or he may even be nice. But amid the current workplace reckoning, it's important to remember that HR exists primarily to serve top management, not you."

I told you it was sinister! Still not sure, check out this quote about what the authors believe regarding how HR works.

"And behind every fallen offender and hostile workplace, it seems, there is a complicit HR department—the executor of a liability-avoidance strategy that ticks all the boxes (cookie-cutter anti-discrimination training, a perfunctory investigations process, silencing arbitration, and nondisclosure agreements)."

Believe me now? Go ahead and check out the article for yourself. Fortune Article

Having spent much of my corporate career in Human Resources, I am equally appalled and understanding of the article. I think there are some really good points and some flat out ridiculous accusations in it. The real question I think HR departments and companies should be asking is, how do we change the perception? Some may even ask, why do they need to? Here is why I believe they do.

There is a new currency in the workplace. It is culture, but it's deeper. It is Authentic Culture. It is the rise of authenticity as a currency to impact an organization. Companies that want to compete in the future by attracting and retaining the best talent need to have cultures where employees are empowered and there is high trust with appropriate boundaries. This cannot be built in an environment where employees believe that HR Is Not Your Friend!

What do you think? Add a comment about one of the questions below.

  • How have you seen companies change this perception?
  • What have you seen work to build authenticity?
  • What's an HR innovation you've seen to challenge this perception?

It's an important topic for companies that want to win over the next 10 years. Remember, you can't win the marketplace if you are losing the workplace.

This is a topic that companies must address and they need to be able to change the perception of HR. That is, if they have an interest in winning.


The people in companies are speaking up and demanding healthy environments. They want to feel safe at work. They insist on a consistent playing field. It's HR's job to ensure it's happening and I know they can. The vast majority of people I had the privilege of working within HR were intelligent, motivated and amazing people.

Comment and share your thoughts. Thanks!

#HR #HumanResources #Fortune