Julie Turney
5 min readJun 15, 2021


Are you suffering from corporate shame HR?

What do I mean by this? Every organization is subject to public scrutiny and in the words of my friend Jay Guilford, your company could be one Tweet away from disgrace due to lack of accountability at the leadership level leading to abusive practices. More often than not you have been in a situation as an HR professional where you have felt that your hands were tied, you were silenced or complicit in toxic behaviour in the workplace at the leadership level.

Here are some examples:

  • A manager tells you to fire someone on the same day without documentation of a poor performance or any other infraction.
  • leaders making racist or sexist slurs in your presence that you do not call them out on.
  • A manager is not pulling their weight but senior management is still throwing money at them. Why???
  • Executives/Managers having relationships with employees that only come to light after someone gets burned and comes forward.
  • Hiring managers making non-inclusive jokes at candidates during the recruitment process.
  • Stealing at the executive level going without it being reported.
  • Bullying at the executive level going unreported.
  • Passing your CEO’s abusive speech and behaviour off as “Radical Candor.”

You get where I am coming from and could probably share more stories than I could type all at once. Oftentimes, HR holds the brunt of that shame because when bad things happen the first thing most people assume is that HR must have known and just kept it on the low. While this may be true in some cases, it is not the truth for every situation.

You may ask, why does this even matter Julie? It matters because HR professionals are finding themselves in a very precarious situation especially as we start to consider or as we are in the process of returning to work.

If you have heard your manager say something like, “HR is really grinding me on this.” or “this is not really my call, HR is making us do it.” Chances are you are working with a very spineless manager that does not want to admit that they have made the decision and are aiming all the fire at HR because we are easy to blame. That is the truth.

HR has had a very broad back for a very long time, but the truth is that oftentimes HR is not aware of many of these things because leaders often say “There is no need to run this by HR.” You see, most of the time we only find out about these things when something has gone horribly wrong and we are called in as the cleanup crew.

However, a revolution of epic proportions is happening. The more I speak to HR professionals (my clients and colleagues alike) about returning to work, most of them are ready to call it quits or are in the process of transitioning to an organization that is willing to meet us where we are at, and where we are at is, in a space where we are no longer willing to be the doormat for toxic leaders.

You see, if this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the world is full of options to live and work where we want when we want and how we want. While the earth and wildlife have had time to replenish and start anew, so have we as a human race and as HR professionals we have decided to prioritize family and mental health, namely peace of mind over money and the opportunity to climb a ladder that most of us are now figuring out is not worth climbing, so now what?

I love reading comments from my HR community when they share their stories of resigning because the work environment is too toxic and they are choosing themselves as a priority for the first time. Some of us are doing it without a plan B so what does that tell you about the state of most organizations today?

No matter your size as an organization, be you a fortune 100 or 500, we are saying no to your toxicity, we are no longer willing to sacrifice our peace of mind for your money. When your values stop being in sync with ours. When you choose process over people and when you choose profit over wellbeing, we are saying no! Our journey is not taking us in this direction it is taking us that way, the people-centric way and if you are not willing to retrospect on how much you have devalued yourself, we are going to stop our own downward spiral and move on.

I challenge all CEO’s, boards of directors and leaders at every level to check yourself. HR is no longer willing to be your scapegoat. With organizations like Corporate Accountability ready to call you out and give people a voice with an opportunity to vote and expose you, is it really worth it in the end?

If you are suffering from corporate shame and you are looking for a safe space to release and plan a new strategy for your HR career, I am here to support you. I help HR professionals to build their resilience and agility while providing a safe space for you to lean in, grow and thrive.

Learn more about HR@Heart by checking out my website, or follow me on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Julie Turney is an HRforHR Coach, Founder & CEO of HR@Heart Consulting Inc. A boutique coaching helps HR Professionals to build their resilience agility and find their “HR Voice”. Julie is also the author of the book Confessions of an HR Pro: Stories of Defeat & Triumph, Host of The HR Sound Off Podcast Show, and she is the lead organizer of DisruptHR Caribbean (Barbados, Trinidad & Jamaica).



Julie Turney

As an HRforHR Coach, I help HR professionals to build their resilience agility and find their HR Voice. I am an Author, Public Speaker and Podcast Host.