When I took my internship programming internal web stuff on the intranet for Simplot, a billion dollar private company, I worked a lot with and for HR. It was exciting to learn some of the ins and outs of HR, and what made a company run.
Fast forward a few years and I was in a situation where I wanted to talk to HR because I believed I was in a hostile work environment. I was frustrated, my health was suffering, and I felt wronged.
But I had been in enough meetings to know that HR was not there to protect or coddle me. The #1 role of HR, as I understood it, was to protect the company. Sure, they were nice people, but they weren’t there to help or protect me before they protected the company from lawsuits, harm, financial loss, etc.
If you don’t get that, read this article on Lifehacker: Understand What Your Company’s HR Department Will and Won’t Do for You
And then read this article on Lifehacker: The Company You Work For Is Not Your Friend
What does this mean? Well, it doesn’t mean they are the enemy. It simply means they are not your work BFF… understanding where they fit and what their objectives are will help you understand how and why you would work/interface with them.