Rebranding isn’t just for marketing anymore. As the nature of work itself constantly innovates and changes, it’s time for the HR role to catch up. HR is often described as antiquated, outdated, or out of touch. In fact, “I hate HR” is a frequent search term on Google and Reddit. 

According to an international survey, only 17% of executives view HR departments as able to measurably prove their value to the business. Anonymous surveys and feedback check-ins are a great way to gain an understanding of how people view your role and function. From there, you can break down the barriers and let your true value shine.

We’re breaking down the three main myths about the HR role and how to debunk them.

1. HR practices are outdated.
Popular opinion tends to hold that HR loves paperwork, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Prove this one wrong by getting rid of the piles and embracing HR technology.

2. HR managers lead with emotions, heart, and instinct.
While many HR professionals have backgrounds in psychology, it’s a myth that they’re all mind readers who base their decisions purely on gut instinct. Get around this misconception by driving with data and people analytics instead.

3. HR has no power and therefore can’t affect change.
Modern-day employees struggle to see HR as change agents. This provides an opportunity to establish your role as a strategic business partner, joining the C-suite to best manage workplace change.

What’s in a name? It’s all semantics

People leaders often find themselves helping management define the scope and title of new hires. Ask anyone in HR (or finance!) and they’ll tell you the value of finding accurate job titles for new hires. This same principle holds true for HR professionals themselves, with a wide range of responsibilities and fitting titles to match. In order to be taken seriously, your people need to understand your specific HR function. Are you an HR generalist or is your niche in recruitment, analytics, operations, benefits, employer branding, or culture? Just look at these new HR titles to get a sense of the quirky options out there and find the one that’s right for you. 

In the same vein, the terminology for your initiatives should match your particular brand. It’s important to be mindful as the names you use will set the tone for the activity. Instead of human capital, try referring to it as the human experience. Take the formality out the conversation by replacing HR performance appraisals with ongoing, holistic lifestyle feedback. The options are endless for your role and company. For example, Fiverr HR makes sure to personalize every activity by playing with the ‘do-er’ phrase, connecting it to their company mission.

HR doesn’t work in a vacuum

HR interacts with every other department in the company by nature of the role. Take a note from other teams and get them involved in the rebranding process to make it a collective effort. It’s easy to see the transformation other roles have experienced simply through title changes. Account managers have now become Customer Success Managers, while Sales Managers are now Account Executives and consultants. The weight of words matter by reflecting the evolution of the positions. People teams can also learn from marketing, the experts in rebranding projects big and small, and product, who constantly pivot and reinvent themselves.

Reinvent yourself and cement your place in the organization 

Think of yourself as a brand with your own reputation and image. Rebranding is about your people seeing your specific value so you can be more productive. If you’re in a corner office and the majority of your work is confidential, they might have little insight into your world. Once you debunk the myths, rebrand your initiatives, and get other departments involved, it’s time to announce your new brand. Communication is key here. All of your efforts will be useless if they’re not communicated properly to your people! Once you take your first steps to rebrand for the new world of work, you’ll enjoy the benefits of being understood and appreciated.

At Hibob, we know that when you grow your people, you grow your business. In the new world of work, people management is crucial to driving business success for fast-growing companies. However, when it comes to your role, old habits tend to die hard. It’s time to break the belief that HR practices are outdated, purely instinct-driven, or powerless in affecting organizational change. On top of your day-to-day HR responsibilities, it’s worth investing time and effort in rebranding the HR role so your people can truly see your value.


from Nora Stark

Nora is Head of Communications at Hibob. She brings her background in psychology and passion for storytelling to her role. Often confused with the Starks from the North, Nora is also on a mission to travel and explore other cultures. An avid reader and podcast listener, she can be found discussing the latest pop culture news around the office. Nora is thrilled to discover where the future of work is headed through bob.