When Is Leaving HR the Answer?

If You're Thinking of Getting Out of HR, Here's What You Should Know

Know when it is time for you to leave your HR employment.
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Human resources staff members are passionate about their work in HR employment. They work hard walking a fine line to create a balance between management advocacy and employee advocacy.

They must also strike a balance between their transactional and administrative functions, as well as between employee engagement and business-enhancing practices. Because of all the balancing and the pull and tug of the various stakeholder interests, you can feel stressed and stretched beyond your capacity.

So sometimes, you may be weighing possible career change options for HR professionals. These are issues to consider.

Why People Consider Leaving an HR Career

As long as you retain your passion for the HR field, the people, and your sense of humor, you can overlook a lot of aggravation. But, the negative aspects can get you down.

Sometimes, the balancing gets heavy. Employees have stories they share with each other and on social media about why they hate HR, and none of the stories are flattering for the HR practitioners. In the end, it becomes too much for some HR employees, and that want to transition from HR to another career that is less anxiety-producing.

10 Top Reasons to Leave Your HR Employment

Does this describe you? Here are the top ten reasons to quit your job as an HR professional.

You've lost your passion for the field and its practices.

You find that your mission and reasons for working in the HR field and your goals are no longer meaningful to you.

Most of your time is mired in administrative and transactional tasks.

Admin is not at all what you signed on to spend your time doing in your HR employment, and you have been unable to find a way to change the situation. Perhaps you don't have enough help or your organization refuses to automate employee and HR transactions.

Your industry has experienced economic turmoil.

You've laid employees off, downsized your business, dealt with the fear, mistrust, loss, and the grief of remaining coworkers, and you're just burnt out in your HR role. It may be your time to seek greener pastures in a less stressful role.

Government intervention in the employer-employee relationship.

Government intervention has resulted in far-reaching employment laws that you are tired of learning about, navigating every day with different employees, and all the while, documenting your company's compliance usually because the documentation is required of most employers.

You no longer think about employees as valued resources.

Instead, you have come to think about employees as the whiners, the complainers, and you are just plain tired of dealing with employee complaints and employees. Not good when an HR leader is supposed to be the chief employee advocate and resource.

You perceive little or no opportunity for advancement or career development.

You feel locked into the same HR role at different levels unless you're at a very big company where career advancement and lateral moves are more frequent. And, you'd like to try something different to grow and develop your skills in your career development.

You are tired of teaching managers over and over the appropriate steps for employee disciplinary action. They wait too long and involve you too late after they have made mistakes.

You know that the whole online world is the current recruitment vehicle.

And, honestly? You know that recruiting and social media networking is critical to your company's recruiting processes. But, the days of ads were so much easier and required less time. Daunted by the prospect of learning about all of the online resources, and especially participating in social media recruiting and networking, you'd just as soon do something other than HR employment.

You play clean up to help your organization's managers document employee performance.

You spend a lot of time with managers helping them to appropriately coach and document employee performance issues that may lead up to disciplinary action including employment termination. You train them and coach them, and they still come complaining about why it takes so long to fire a non-performing employee. Then, during the employment termination meeting, you are the front line person doing the talking.

You are constantly recruiting employees for the same roles.

This constant employee replacement is due to turnover because the manager is, at best, ineffective, or at worst, a bad boss. Employees receive inadequate training and coaching. They are micromanaged or constantly in fear of losing their jobs. 

No amount of training or coaching on your part seems to make a difference, and for whatever reason, and usually multiple reasons, your senior managers are unwilling to address the problem. Employees leave managers, not jobs.

You fight every day to be relevant and strategic.

Yet the day-to-day responsibilities constantly consume your time instead of the strategy you'd like to effect. Your organization rewards you more for the daily record-keeping tasks than it does for your strategic thinking, your vision of the HR contribution to the bottom line, and your participation in executive planning to direct the company. Battles with finance over cost versus retention, reward, recognition, and employee empowerment are frequent and painful.

The Bottom Line

You can find many reasons why the time is right to leave your HR employment—and many other reasons why leaving is a bad choice. Make sure your reason is the best choice for your career growth.