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Are Office Managers HR People?

The short answer - if they full engage with the body of knowledge that is HR and attempt to grow over time, you're damn right they're HR pros.  They're as much of an HR pro as a HR Coordinator (or HR Manager for a small company) if that's the case.

However, if an Office Manager doesn't attempt to grow and morph into a full-fledged HR pro over time, they're not an HR pro.  

The story below from an HR Capitalist reader tells you all you need to know:


KD -

Had to share this as not many people get it. 

So, one of my neighbors has worked for her husband’s company for years –moved here from Arizona to start the business, etc… Subsequently, new management came in and both of them – he’s the Founder (lost control when they needed a capital investment to keep the business afloat) and she’s the “short skirt, high heeled, always giggling” office manager – were fired. 

So, she’s been on the job hunt and over the holidays said she was applying for an HR Manager position. I thought, wow, okay – how does that happen? Turns out she’s get an interview – company is in the pharma field. 

She texts me this morning to say, “Hey I’ve got my interview today –any last minutes tips? You know I’m not as HRish as you”. I just let that one go. 

I told her to be sure to know the employment laws for CA, and to be sure she was up to speed on the FMLA policies as well, and with the company in the healthcare biz, be sure she could speak to Obamacare and how that will affect employees and employers this year.   

She just texted me and said “ interview was bad. I didn't feel qualified.  They were talking about the stuff you mentioned - FLSA, right?  I should have asked you what that stood for.  I don’t think I'm going to get a callback.” 

Classic – there’s a blog post in there. Just because you’re an office manager, doesn’t mean you can “DO” Hr.  


I've got a lot of office managers who are readers.  My sense is that if you're reading this and your title is Office Manager, you are an HR Pro.  Not because of this blog, but because you're reading things to learn and stay in tune with what's going on.  +1, and probably indicative of a bigger worldview.

Not sure what FLSA is?  You're an Office Manager, not a member of the HR community.  It's a pretty easy litmus test to perform.

And yeah, if that's you, you should have asked what FLSA stands for. 


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