5 Mistakes HR Professionals Make & How to Avoid Them

As an HR professional, you are uniquely positioned to be a strategic partner in the decision-making processes across your entire organization. The birds-eye view you bring from HR can help your organization adapt to new technologies, changing demographics, and a shifting economy. 

But, of course, it is up to HR to make the case for its own relevance when many leaders still consider it a support function within the organization – rather than a real contributor and valued strategic partner. 

In last week’s podcast episode, I shared my five-point influence with scale framework and revealed how that can help HR professionals shift the perception and value of the work you do. And more importantly – get you a seat at the table where your input will be taken seriously. 

Social Capital – Your Path to Trusted Allies

The first principle of the framework, Social Capital, involves building solid relationships across the organization. When you do this, you create a network of trusted allies who are willing to listen to your ideas and support your initiatives.

But, Social Capital can be a challenge for HR professionals in particular because you’re often in the middle between employees and business leaders. Therefore, I often see these five mistakes that prevent HR from cultivating the kind of relationships you need to build greater influence and elevate your voice. You need to be aware of these mistakes and avoid making them.

5 Relationships Mistakes HR Professionals Make & How to Avoid Them

Mistake 1. Don’t Invest First

Relationship management is a critical skill for HR professionals and mutual trust is the foundation element. Being intentional about investing in mutually beneficial relationships with EVERYONE in your organization helps you create an army of allies who are not only willing but happy to help you out.

Mistake 2. Stay in Your Silo

Creating a network of allies in other areas of leadership within your organization amplifies your influence and increases your ability to contribute. Allies provide you with support when you need it most. They can help you navigate through difficult situations, and give you advice on how to handle challenging issues. 

Mistake 3. Let Others Control Your Narrative

Remember, the onus is on you to change perceptions. If you don’t take charge of changing your narrative – nobody is going to do it for you. When HR professionals invest the time to develop strong relationships with other departments, it opens the door to stronger collaborations as the value they deliver becomes more and more obvious. 

Mistake 4. Command vs. Collaborate

Strong relationships foster trust and collaboration – which is exactly what you want. Your seat at the table requires buy-in from your colleagues. Without that buy-in you may get a seat – but you won’t have a voice. Your influence will not be as accepted or appreciated as it should be. 

Mistake 5. Missed Opportunities

Social Capital is an often overlooked – but essential – ingredient for success. Building strong workplace relationships is critical for achieving your goal of becoming a strategic partner in the decision-making process.  

A Seat and a Voice

When you have people who are willing to support you and speak up on your behalf, you’ll be more likely to have your ideas heard and respected. This can help you become a more effective leader and contributor to your organization.


She’s a woman on a mission, prepped and ready to help you create resilient leaders and a workplace that is poised to succeed. Having weathered her fair share of corporate and career crises of all sizes, Vivian Blade MBA, MBB, PMP, is a global leadership expert and thought leader who equips leaders with the resilience that inspires teams to recover quickly in the face of ongoing disruption and thrive in spite of insurmountable odds.

Vivian empowers leaders and organizations as a frequent keynote speaker for association conferences and in delivering transformative leadership development programs, executive coaching and consulting for corporations.

Leave a Comment

Copyright 2023 Vivian Blade