I would like to just comment that every profession (not just HR) has individuals who are low-performers or who are not the right fit for the job. Because HR deals with every single person in the organization at every level, HR low-performers or those who make mistakes/errors/missteps are much higher profile in the company than someone who only deals with one department.
And with that she sums up a very real problem. Every employee at every level has contact with HR and sometimes with very low level HR people. Add to this that HR isn't the highest paid profession and sometimes you get some real problems.
Any mistake we make is magnified--because it involves people. Let me tell you about a memorable mistake in my past. Once upon a time, I was responsible for running the year end salary increase program--for the entire, very large company. This was in the dark ages, so at the end of the whole thing we sent every manager a piece of paper with a list of their employees and the employee's official increase. Attached to that were individual notification sheets for each employee with their names and new salaries. Did I mention this was a very large company? Did I also mention this was all done on PAPER? Oy.
So, we're handling tens of thousands of sheets of paper. Stuffing them into envelopes and sending them out. It was quite a process. And we made a mistake. No one really knows who--everyone in the department, from admin to VP helped out on this stuffing process, so it could have been anyone. But, we made a mistake and ONE Vice President (note how I said, one out of thousands) got an extra sheet stuck to his list. The extra sheet happened to be for one of his direct reports, so it wasn't as if he saw anything he didn't already have access to. It was just a mistake. And unfortunately, it happened at the top.
Of course, the world came to an end and there were meetings and process re-designs and it was a mess and if you ask me if I ever want to do that again the answer is a resounding no. It made us look terrible and no one recognized that our error rate was well below 0.0002%. You ask me if any other department would get reamed for that error level. Even worse all of HR looked bad, even though staffing, employee relations, benefits, etc. didn't even make the mistake. My group did.
My point is, of course, that we do have to be better. We need to know more than we do. We need to be more accurate than we are. We just need to be better employees.
Which makes sense. After all, if we're in the people business we should be the best people.