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Why is HR considered the least productive department?

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“Much of HR’s work happens behind the scenes, focusing on policy development, compliance, employee support, and long-term strategic planning,” Williams said in a statement. “This low visibility could lead employees to underestimate the productivity, importance, and impact of HR functions.”

Lack of clarity on HR’s role

Williams also attributed the low productivity score to employees not completely understanding that HR does for the organisation.

“Many employees view the role as purely administrative, transactional, and compliance-driven,” Williams said. “They may only interact with HR when they are first recruited, then for administrative or disciplinary reasons, so they won’t necessarily see the broader strategic role HR plays in talent management, organisational culture, and employee development.”

Productivity in HR is also not always quantifiable, according to Williams, as their impact is often long-term.

Raising awareness

To address the problem, Williams suggested regular internal comms from HR to increase transparency about their activities and successes.

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