Linq HR
Empowering Excellence in Every Workforce

Addressing the Biggest Criticisms Against Human Resources

28.03.24 10:00 AM By Linq HR

In the dynamic landscape of modern workplaces, Human Resources / People and Culture (HRPC) departments play a pivotal role in fostering organisational success and employee well being. All levels of the organisation are touched by this function and often has a direct impact on company success. However, despite their essential function, HRPC often faces criticism from various quarters. Let's delve into some of the most common criticisms against HRPC and explore ways to address them effectively.

One significant criticism levelled against HRPC is its perceived bureaucratic nature. Critics argue that HRPC processes can be cumbersome and slow, hindering agility and innovation within organisations. To counter this, HRPC professionals need to streamline procedures, embrace technology, and adopt agile practices to enhance efficiency while maintaining compliance and fairness.

According to renowned HRPC expert Dave Ulrich, "The challenge of HR is to build a strong culture, share it and live it." This underscores the importance of cultivating a culture of efficiency and collaboration within HR teams, thereby mitigating bureaucratic tendencies (Ulrich, 2016).

Another critique is the perception of HRPC as a cost centre rather than a strategic partner. Some view HRPC functions solely in terms of administrative tasks, overlooking their potential to drive business outcomes. HRPC leaders must actively align their strategies with organisational objectives, demonstrating how effective talent management and employee engagement contribute to bottom-line results.

As articulated by HRPC thought leader Josh Bersin, "HR is not about HR. HR begins and ends with the business." This highlights the imperative for HR professionals to integrate their efforts with broader business goals, thereby transforming HR from a cost centre into a strategic enabler (Bersin, 2014).

Criticism also arises regarding HRPC's handling of employee relations and conflicts. Some employees feel that HRPC tends to prioritise the interests of the company over their own. To address this, HRPC must cultivate a culture of trust and transparency, ensuring that employees feel heard and supported. Implementing robust conflict resolution mechanisms and fostering open communication channels can help mitigate these concerns.

Furthermore, there's often scepticism about HRPC's ability to keep pace with evolving workforce trends and technological advancements. To overcome this, HRPC professionals must invest in continuous learning and development, staying abreast of industry best practices and emerging technologies. By embracing innovation, HRPC can better anticipate and respond to the changing needs of both employees and employers.

Research conducted by Deloitte highlights that organizations with highly effective HR functions are more likely to achieve better stakeholder outcomes, including financial performance, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement (Deloitte, 2021).

It's essential to recognise that HRPC cannot operate in isolation, its success hinges on collaboration with business leaders. Effective HRPC practices require the active support and engagement of organisational leadership to drive meaningful change and foster a culture of excellence. It needs to also find the fine balance between employee needs and commercial outcomes, so both can achieved together.

In conclusion, while criticisms against HRPC are not uncommon, they present opportunities for growth and improvement. By addressing concerns around bureaucracy, strategic relevance, employee relations, and adaptability, HRPC can enhance its effectiveness and cement its position as a valued partner in organisational success. 

Linq HR are Australian Employment and Workplace Specialists assisting organisations and employees be their best at work. Ph 1300234566.

Ulrich, D. (2016). The HR Value Proposition. Harvard Business Review Press.

Bersin, J. (2014). The Modern HR Department: A Think Global, Act Local Approach. Forbes. Retrieved from

Deloitte. (2021). Human Capital Trends. Retrieved from