HR and Dishes: Is there a Link?


Indeed, there is! An executive of an HR department joked in a conversation; one must do the dishes every single night. It was meant as a joke, but the statement had validity. The bottom line – it is essential for people to complete at least one task daily. If not dishes, then making the bed, or cleaning the counters and vacuuming the floor. The point this executive was making is that HR can be a department built on the “hurry up and wait” game. The constant frustration of not fulfilling one task to completion daily is overwhelming. So, do the dishes! Give yourself the feeling of an accomplishment with at least one manageable task.

Why does HR experience so many hiccups with each task, you might wonder? Perhaps it is because managing people causes ongoing interaction issues? Or perhaps tasks are built around connecting various departments, and the timing never seems right to bring all constituents together? The reality is, there are many reasons why this is the case.

HR’s growth has compounded over the years, adopting roles that do not neatly fit into “rightful” departments. HR is like the “miscellaneous folder” of a company. How did this happen?

Human Resources Transformation

As this article points out, “Far from a static discipline, human resources is a living process.” Just a few decades ago, HR as a department was considered overhead. Necessary overhead, but overhead just the same. The thinking was that HR existed to manage resources to make sure the work gets done. This “means to an end,” thinking dissipated over the years, and HR transformed into a sought-after department that is required to help companies optimize success and profitability. HR, once a single-lane road, blossomed to a superhighway managing various responsibilities. Below is a list of just some of HR’s responsibilities:

  • Talent acquisition
  • Talent management
  • Regulatory and organizational compliance
  • Employee benefits
  • Compensation
  • Payroll
  • Training and development
  • Employee well-being (engagement / satisfaction / purpose)
  • Terminations

Though HR has gained many new responsibilities as part of its transformation, it is still responsible for its original objective – taking care of employees. It is no wonder why HR employees may have difficulty in completing certain tasks with the ever-growing list of responsibilities.

As companies evolve, HR’s responsibilities will likely narrow. Distinct departments may be created to focus on some of the many responsibilities currently managed by HR. When that day arrives, there will hopefully be a lot of dirty dishes around.


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