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3 HR Myths You Need to Bust for Your CEO


Have you ever noticed what a bad rap HR people get in film and TV? “The Bobs” are portrayed as dumb efficiency consultants whom everyone fears in Office Space, Toby Flenderson is Michael Scott’s verbal (and, yes, sometimes literal) punching bag in “The Office,” and Pam Poovey just makes everyone uncomfortable as an HR director in FX’s “Archer.” Needless to say, pop culture hasn’t done HR any favors, and those feelings and connotations have seeped into the way a lot of people think and feel about HR.

As a result, there are many myths out there about HR. If you’re handling HR for your SMB organization, odds are you didn’t get a formal HR degree or training (or your company might just send you to an HR conference here and there and hope that’s enough). That’s totally fine, but before you can worry about high-level strategic HR functions like culture, engagement, and employee experience, you have to focus on block-and-tackle HR functions that are going to show immediate ROI to your organization and protect it from litigation. As we like to say, “You have to be good before you can be fancy.”

In today’s world, the truth is every HR person — regardless of training or degree — should be empowered to easily execute basic HR functions that protect your organization, so you can focus on making a more strategic, high-level impact on your business. After all, 73 percent of organizations agree that digital HR — from digital HR platforms to digital workplaces and workforces — was either important or very important to them.

But as we said, there are a lot of myths out there about HR. Maybe your company thinks HR isn’t really worth investing in. Or you may feel like your organization doesn’t see the ROI in HR. Your CEO may feel the exact same way about HR that Michael Scott does. Whether your organization picked up its biases from pop culture, around the water cooler, or just checking out sweet HR memes on the internet, we’re here to dispel the HR rumors that aren’t true.

Myth No. 1: HR Opens Pandora’s Box

Someone call Will Smith because this myth is “old and busted.” We hear this all the time: “By putting HR practices in place, we’re opening ourselves up to liability!”

Not talking to your employees about their rights and your organization’s HR practices is like not telling your kids about the dangers of drugs (please tell your kids about the dangers of drugs). Sticking your head in the sand and ignoring the problem doesn’t mean the problem isn’t there. In fact, “management transparency is a top factor when determining employee happiness” and one of the top factors in determining employee experience and engagement.

Openly discussing your organization’s HR practices and employees’ rights isn’t just a good idea — it’s good for business. When employees feel like management is on their side and being transparent with them, they’re much more likely to engage with your organization. And highly engaged business units receive a 10 percent increase in customer metrics and a 20 percent increase in sales. Talk about bottom-line ROI. That’s right — empowering people to talk freely and openly about your organization’s HR practices can do more good than harm. Which leads us to Myth No. 2 ...

Myth No. 2: HR Is Pure Overhead

Someone call Corey Feldman because this myth is Busted! Some organizations don’t see HR as adding any value to the business. This is a myth we’re happy to bust. Here are the facts:

  • Employment lawsuits are up 400 percent in the last 20 years.
  • The average award is $490,000.
  • Fines can range from $110 all the way up to $16,000.

By contrast, the average HR consultant costs about $60,000. Having a knowledgeable HR person at the helm can save you and your organization an incredible amount in headaches and litigation down the road. That’s before we even start thinking about the amount of bottom-line return organizations see on reducing employees’ time to productivity, offering employees growth opportunities, increasing engagement, investing in culture, and more.

Just to give you an idea of the impact an HR professional can have, author Jacob Morgan found that “companies that invested most heavily in employee experience were included 28 times as often among Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, 11.5 times as often in Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work, 2.1 times as often in Forbes’ list of the World’s Most Innovative companies, 4.4 times as often in LinkedIn’s list of North America’s Most In-demand Employers, and twice as often in the American Customer Satisfaction Index.” Morgan’s research also found that “experiential organizations had more than four times the average profit and more than two times the average revenue.”

All of these functions can show ROI come down to the wise guidance of a good and empowered HR professional. Which leads us to Myth No. 3 ...

Myth No. 3: Anyone Can Do HR

Someone call Dave Matthews because this myth is “Busted Stuff” (and you’ll understand if we don’t make a Radiohead “Anyone Can Play Guitar” joke here). The truth is: Not just anyone can “do HR.”

But facts are facts:

  • Sixty-three percent of small-business owners have never conducted a voluntary HR audit.
  • Sixty-four percent of HR managers lack the tools to handle HR issues.

And for the SMB market, this is understandable. Like we mentioned before, sometimes organizations have to turn to their nearest spreadsheet expert to perform basic HR functions. But aside from covering for the legal liabilities and headaches, just think of the positive ROI HR professionals provide:

HR has a few key functions: First, to ensure compliance within a company that will minimize exposure to litigation while protecting employees’ rights, and second, to make an organization thrive. Unfortunately, when a company spends too much time on the first function, the true strategic value of the second function never happens.

Phew! Someone call Cheap Trick because these myths are Busted!

So, now what?

Now that you’re equipped to bust these myths, pass them along to your CEO, so they know that HR is a vital part of your organization! Or better yet, use these myths to round out your case for growing your HR budget this year. Let us know how you used these busted myths (or any other myths we didn’t cover) to educate your co-workers by emailing us at


Learn more about Viventium's Human Resources services over on our HR page!


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