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Respected Seniors and my dear fellow members

I am relatively new to the world of Human resource management as compared to the other members of the community . I work for a medium sized IT company .I am the only HR out here and I spend at least 10hours a day at office handling the different HR functions for 2 of our branch offices .At times I feel that an HR person cannot mingle with the employees and needs to maintain a certain amount of distance from them so that he/she can enforce discipline within the organisation or in other words he /she has to do this as per the instruction from the higher management .On the other hand he /she cant be on the same level with the owners of the company .At the end of the day it is like he/she is spending 10hrs in the office like "one mysterious person " about whom nobody knows a word .

I would like to put forward this question to my seniors and fellow members that is this situation inevitable and if not then what can be a way out

Thanks and Regards

Indrani Chakraborty

From India, Pune

The predicament is REAL, undoubtedly!

HR is an employee like any other employee. Each employee in each function has a role assigned by the organization, to play. When such a role conflicts with any other role, we witness "classical conflicts" of management.

HR v S/W people (in your case) or HR v Operations in any other company, Manufacturing v Marketing, Marketing V Finance and so on so forth. This is a reality that is not going to change.

The organizational culture must reflect the fact that whatever problems in each interest group, in the ultimately each is working for the organization. If all are working for the organization, all must demonstrate this understanding. One may not like what HR is doing, but it must be understood and accepted that there is (and should be) nothing personal in its actions for or against other functions.

Yes, misunderstandings will be inevitable and as and when they occur the concerned functions must get together and clear the air between them. The organization therefore has to inculcate and sanctify Communication, Professionalism and the commitment of holding the organizational interests above all. All "differences and disputes" must be resolved as far as possible in a direct dialogue between the disputants and the third party interventions, though available need not have to be resorted to. This requires a high level of maturity on the part of the members of the organization and it can be achieved over a period of time through Sensitivity Training, Process Labs, Cross functional Teams etc.

You have started a good topic. I hope others also contribute. I have provided elementart starter points only.



September 15, 2007

From India, Pune
Respected Senior
Your views are definitely refreshing and opens up more avenues for discussion .I would just like to point out that in a small or medium sized companies like ours there is only 1 person in the HR department so the differences in opinion or work processes are not between departments anymore it becomes individualistic as there is only 1 person who represents the entire department .As in the case of difference of opinion between marketing and operations we can term is it "differences between departments" because there are a team of people who represent a department .
Nevertheless I guess we all would agree that an HR professional is bridge between the management and the employees and hence they have to be in a "hanging position" always.This is the situation where the competence of an HR professional is tested to its optimum so as to how he/she creates a balance between the relationship he /she shares with the employer as well as the employees

From India, Pune
Dear Ankur,

Hi ! Few years back I faced the same problem. As the lone HR person, at the end of the day similar questions engulfed me...and the instructions from management made me rethink about all the good HR practices that I learnt during MBA!

There are few of the HR areas that you could easily share with your other department people. In my case, there was good apprehension in the initial stages, but later on- people were very happy about how things turned out.

Definitely you can never share your activities of legal and statutory compliances or those related to the personnel policies, but few areas like training and recruitment, even performance assessments are where you can get them involved.

You cand develop a training cell- with members from all departments, ask them to design their own modules, integrate the different procedures for training- let them own their processes...but you will have to guide them throughout. Involve them in the recuitment procedures, appraisal procedures similarly.

Organise monthly HR meeting where there can be small presentations on HR topics-----while taking these initiatives, if you face problems from the management- handle politely but strongly- am definite you will get many friends around with time. :D

It's only that other employees do not exactly know the role of HR except that we cut salaries and mark leaves, implement disciplinary actions... but once you start implementing few positive actions, you will gain in lot of confidence which will infact help you do your other part better! HR needs to be creative, its changing day by day..think about new ideas and visit citehr for those.

Make the whole organisation your department- HR is for people, and we cannot be successful without them! right?



From India, Guwahati
Hello Indu!!

Very Interesting topic you have started on this forum.

Samvedan ji has given a great deal of information with facts.

I would like to put my views also, I dont consider any HR professional as Lonely soul for sure, even though you have to create discipline in the organisation. My belief is any HR professional has to be very disciplined herself/ himself to bring in that kind of culture, no matter you are single person representing a function or a team of people from department.

Yes, middle size Organisation has just one person in HR department, but it is a department in itself no matter you are just one person, but you have the responsibility to do certain things which others may not have. I hope you agree.

There are many instances where HR needs to be strict in some cases, irrespective of how friendly HR person is with colleagues.

The problems you are facing are generally faced by many new comers in HR profession and specially if the company has just started HR function. But look beyond present and foresee your role as not only a middleman between senior mgmt and employees, but also contributing towards

Bringing new culture, developing people, systemasing the entire organisationand generate interest in People with transparent and open communication.

Looking forward for more responses to have learning discussion with HR Intellectuals.

Best Regards,


From India, Delhi
Respected Senior
Thank you for your suggestions.Your empathy shows that you have also been through this.I am actually trying to implement a few positive things at workplace like holidays on alternative saturdays ,casual leaves to be caried forward(earlier it used to lapse at the end of the month) etc .But the point is all these policies or amendments needs to be discussed with the management at length.Whenever employees find me discussing an issue behind close doors they feel that I am surely talking about the project deadlines or reviewing their performance :) .So until and unless some positive actions taken by the management are implemented or at least disclosed to the employees my acceptance to the employees remain on the shelf
Thanks and Regards
Indrani Chakraborty

From India, Pune
This happened with me also when i was working as HR trainee in mnc manufacturing company total staff were 200 and we only two were there in HR dept,,, the personnel manager and myself,, since the PM was senior person no one dared to tell anything to me,,, but they used to tell me all flaws , and things that needs attention,, when i bought this to notice of PM,, he told they do like this only,,, and didnt care,, so i was sandwitched between the staff and PM.. in canteen also while having food with my collegues who were working in other depts,, i being the lone hr exec / trainee,, they used to tell me / taunt abt what food is this,, this is not clean,, ur in hr do this for us ,, do that for us,,, etc,,, since i was alone in HR dept ,, it was sometimes hard,, to handle these complaints,, i thought if there were some 2-3 ppl in HR then we cld hav our own gang,,, to,, being alone HR becomes a point of criticism ,,, since the PM was very strong the employees really feared to complain agaisnt anythign to him,,, sometimes it was handled lightly but sometimes it really hurt,, as the no one dared to tell anything to PM ,,, they feared the PM very much,,, and PM did not listen to me ,, and the truth was that HR was totally dead in tht company, im happy i left it .. :P
From India, Pune
Dear Indu,,,

before trying to implement any of the above ,, take approval / advice from top management,, ,i also tried to change some policies,, but it was not approved by PM,,, then affter some 6-7 months , i got so much knowledge about work, that even without asking the PM, I changed the some policy,,, we had a format for workers to fill their attendance in a sheet ,, if they forgot to punch their cards,, so what happened was that,, some workers lost their punch card and for every day they were filling up the sheet,, in which provision to fill up attendance for only one day was made,,, i perpared one sheet in which provision for filling up attendance for whole month was made , and this was to be given to only those workers who lost their punch cards,,, but when i asked my PM,, he told that even he had suggested some formats to be implemented,,,which was rejectd from head office,, then in between soem 4-5 workers lost their punch cards, and were filling up the daily sheet,, everyday so it had 26 sheets per month, more paper handling, work for them and for me also,, so i talked with the boy who synchronised the time office in shop floor he ws only 12 passed,, he also agreed that instead of filling 26 sheets they can summarise in one sheet, this common sense even the PM did not have,, so even without askign the PM we implemented this and we asked the workers to fill in our format... ,, I dont know whether the PM came to know of this or not,, but he did not tell me anything

From India, Pune
It appears like you have personalised the situation till a point that it is hurting you emotionally. Here are some things that comes to my mind...but don;t know whether they make sense to you...

First, I think the fruits of HR interventions that you are so passionately enforcing would come your way after a few years. He who is persistently believes would be eventually true... for his truth shall then become real.

Secondly, as long as you feel very different than others in your organisation, you can add a different value. If you thought you were exactly like everyone else then you would have already lost.

Lastly, I generally see things in two aspects, if the policy talks than I stick to it. Everyone knows that...that i am a policy guy...i am in love with policy...and strategy. If there is a personal touch of friendship/comradere required then I am not policy...I am myself. A person committed to helping everyone who come my way in ways that I can...except when policy talks I remain a mere soldier of policy.

I feel you...but looking back...I feel that it is even more lonely now that I head my organisation than that time when I was in HR. What you need to be is a crocodile...soft on the belly so that you can feel what is going your way and what is not...but hard on the back to take on all the troubles of the world and still survive for centuries.

From Netherlands
Respected Seniors
I am very happy to see that the purpose of my putting this post on this community of esteemed HR professional has been served.Now I am feeling much better when I see all my senior HR professionals have been through the similar kind of phase at the beginning of their careers.I must say that in our organisation the HR department is still in its formation stage and the higher management has given me the authority to implement new ideas, new ways to streamline processes to design HR manual etc . Even they expect me to keep track of the project deadlines :lol: ,me being a non technical person still cant make head and tail out of it .
I still would like to invite suggestions from all of you as to how to be a "peoples HR" and also the "management's HR" ?

From India, Pune

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