Survey: 70 Percent of Tech Employees Say HR Is Not Their Friend

A distrust of HR is a common theme in the Blind community and workplaces in general. HR is often accused of protecting employers (the people who pay them) rather than the employees. And it’s not unusual to hear about HR failing to produce timely or appropriate actions to resolve worker complaints. A Fortune article details how this happened at Microsoft:

“In 2008, one year into her tenure at the company, [Moussouris, a Microsoft employee] reported that her director was sexually harassing women in her group. Her claims were allegedly substantiated, but the offending manager was merely reassigned—and subsequently promoted. Moussouris suspected that he had docked her bonus pay before being transferred and she complained to HR about that too. Nothing happened.”

From previous polls, we’ve learned that 42.76 percent of our surveyed users don’t feel comfortable reporting sexual harassment cases to HR, and 41 percent of our surveyed users have either witnessed or experienced retaliation. A large portion of workers on Blind don’t trust HR but just how many?

From July 30 through August 6 this year, we asked the following question on our app: Do you trust HR at your current company? Users were asked to choose one answer from the following options: A) Yes, B) No, and C) My company does not have HR.

A total of 11,892 users participated in the survey and, not surprisingly, the majority of people replied that they do not trust HR. Here are the final results:

• 3,059 answered A (25.7 percent)

• 8,357 answered B (70.3 percent)

• 478 answered C (4 percent)

We also broke down the survey results by individual company. Below are the results for the top 18 companies that had the most survey answers. Intel ranks the highest for number of employees who don’t trust HR (83.18 percent), while LinkedIn ranks the lowest for the same (59.55 percent). It’s worth noting that over 50 percent of employees from every company say that they don’t trust HR at their current workplace.

User discussions may provide some insight into why so many employees distrust HR. Last summer, an anonymous employee from Databricks posted the following on Blind:

A number of other Blind users have shared the same sentiment in separate discussions. Though there are many valid cases of HR mishandling worker complaints, like with every situation, there is a flip side. As one anonymous Blind user points out, HR sometimes lacks the influence and leverage to help those that come to them for assistance:

“Ultimately, you should realize that HR doesn’t have the ability to just terminate someone independent of a conversation that involves other people, namely the individual’s supervisor. We are often times the messenger in situations that are absolutely ‘not our call’. Getting over the idea that HR has any measurable impact concerning who stays or goes seems to be a concept that a lot of employees struggle with.”

In order to improve our workplaces and allow employees to feel safe, both HR and the employee-employer dynamic will need to be reformed. Because HR is not always a reliable ally, employees are turning to other options to deal with their workplace issues. Today, there are apps that provide informed advisers and legal resources for workers. Products like Blind also allow employees to discuss workplace matters with a community, whether it’s to anonymously bring attention to an issue or just get advice from other employees. With mounting pressure to improve how workplace complaints are handled, companies have also been hiring third parties to investigate employee claims. Workers now have more options when deciding how to handle problems that arise in the office, which helps balance the shift of power.

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