[Excerpt] When assessing the essentiality of HR within a firm, one must first ask what is meant by the word “essential” within a business context. The trickiness here, however, is that such a definition is highly contingent on the type and size of a particular firm. If one defines “essential” as “indispensable,” then HR is almost certainly not essential in very small firms. In such instances, the work of HR can be done by other managers and the owners themselves. On the other hand, if one defines “essential” as “adding considerable value,” then innovative human resource policies can create a competitive advantage even in the smallest of firms. Instead of relying on a single definition of essentiality, this essay will focus on the reasons why human resources practices are often called into question in the first place. Furthermore, I will propose recommendations on how to combat skepticism toward HR.