Kathryn Kendall

Up Close and Personnel

Tag: hr

What Does The HR Department Actually Do?

HR function

If someone told you that they were a doctor, you’d probably have at least a vague idea of what they did. Likewise if someone told you they were a gardener, or a taxi driver, or a high court judge. You might not be able to describe their day to day activities in any level of detail, but you could broadly outline the overriding objective of their role. ‘You make people better.’ ‘You plant things.’ ‘You decide who’s going to go to prison.’ Simplistic, but you get the idea.

When it comes to HR, however, I’ve discovered it’s not quite so easy. Respond to the classic dinner party ice breaker of ‘So, what do you do?’, and your reply of ‘I work in HR’ is likely to be met with at best vague recognition, at worst a totally blank stare. Turns out, while most of us have heard of the HR department, not many of us know what it actually does.

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Exit Interviews: Why You Can’t Afford Not To Do Them

Exit interview sign

I was speaking on the phone to a family member yesterday evening. They have recently handed in their notice as they have decided to take early retirement from their role as a senior director within a large, global organisation.

We got onto the subject of exit interviews. They’d asked their HR team whether they were going to have one. Apparently exit interviews were carried out ‘at the discretion of line managers’, without intervention from HR. In any case, the individual in question was apparently unlikely to have one. After all, they were retiring. The reason they were leaving employment was obvious. Where would the value be in spending time undertaking an exit interview?

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