If you think the purpose of HR is to prevent the company from getting sued, please quit and go work for the competition right now.
Realize HR has customers. Make life simpler, easier, better for your customers. Solve your customer’s problems.
Become so good at customer service that people brag that your company has the Nordstrom’s of HR.
Consider the possibility that the purpose of HR is to help leaders make better decisions. [So says David Ayre of Nike and I agree with him.] Own it, rock it, develop processes around it. Make it your mission to help leaders make better selection, training, retention, and de-selection decisions.
Making a difference in people’s lives and impacting results is fun. Administration is the necessary evil of HR. Nail administration so you can move on to the fun.
Develop a love and understanding for business. Read the HR mags if you want, but also get into Forbes, Fortune, WSJ, Fast Company, Time, The Economist. Maybe inc. or Entrepreneur. Become a business person who gets HR rather than an HR person gets business (or worse, an HR person who is vaguely aware of this thing called “business”).
Ditch the HR mags and read the scholarly journals like Personnel Psychology.
Attend conferences focused on the core business of the company you support. Maybe skip the HR conference this year (blasphemy!) and attend a manufacturing, banking, engineering, retail, etc. conference.
Leave your office. Go talk to people outside your department.
Attend conferences for the departments you support. Do you have any idea how much you would learn and how much you would freak people out if you attended, say, a CFO conference?
Spend a day observing and shadowing a key customer.
Play to win. Have fun. Make a freakin’ difference.