That was my friends response after I told him that I was an HR consultant.

We hadn’t seen each other in a while.  So when we got beyond the usual niceties and questions about the well-being of our wives and kids we started talking about work.  The last time we had spoken, I was still with my previous employer.  After I updated him and told him that I started my own business, he said, “doing what?”

“HR consulting,” I said.

“What’s that?,” he replied, with a curious, cautious expression.

“Well, there are many organizations, especially small and medium sized businesses, that don’t have HR departments. If they do, they are not as structured as in large companies (my friend works for a large corporation) and they may  need help managing their processes.  That’s when I step in, to provide HR expertise on a consulting basis.”

And that’s when he said . . . well, the title of this blog.

Admittedly, I was both surprised and not by his response.  After all, not many people understand the full scope and impact of human resources operations within organizations, including their own.  In general, most people often think of two words when they hear “HR,” almost always as an inseparable pair: hire and fire.   No, I don’t have any verified studies to back up this claim–just over 20 years of experience and feedback from colleagues within and outside of the profession.

To many, HR professionals are typically the bearers of bad news, the grim reapers of the organization.  What about you?  Think of your own experiences when you were notified of a meeting and informed that “HR” would be present, or when a member of your organization’s HR team requests an impromptu meeting, or when “HR” stops by your department for an impromptu visit.  We have the power to extinguish laughter and good times, to quiet a room upon entry.  It’s a power that my colleagues and I have learned to accept and embrace – while  exercising discipline not to wield it irresponsibly.

So what does HR do when they are not hiring or firing, or preparing to do either?  Why is HR important?  I encourage you to speak to your own HR staff.  Or contact us!!