The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Does HR = Human Remains?
July 24, 2006, 3:40 pm
Filed under: Comment

Today I got contacted by the HR department of a Multi-national asking if I’d like to ‘… come and have a chat’ with them.

Being a pain-in-the-arse, I asked why would I want to do that given I have lots of friends who talk to me all the time.

After a massive pause, they said they wanted to find out if I’d be interested in joining their organisation – and if I was, the CEO would like to meet me.

So this got me thinking – what exactly do HR departments do?

In this example [which unsurprisingly, I said an emphatic ‘NO’ to] they were basically secretaries trying to organise a meeting between 2 people … but surely there is more to it than that?

Well yes there is, but it seems in the majority of cases, HR is more about ‘management protection’ than ’talent nurturing’. 

There’s a great article about this in the Australian Newspaper, The Age [click here] … but I think the real issue is that HR Departments have little power … politically and financially … so they’re always going to be more about ‘maintaining the status quo’ than changing it.

Great companies are not about processes, they are about people … so having a department that represents employees hopes, dreams and aspirations makes commercial sense … but if all that department actually does is handle ’annual evaluation forms’ and ’holiday leave’ then what they are actually doing, is showing their employees that they don’t really value them at all.

Sure it is difficult if you have tens of thousands of people in your company … I’m not saying it isn’t … but until HR starts to attract people who not only want to make a difference, but have the power to do it [like an internal Union – but one that isn’t focused just on working conditions and salaries] – then they’re going to continue to be about as effective [and as trusted] as a local government planning department.

7 Comments so far
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Learning HR modules at University left me with the following impressions:

I would never want to work in HR

I struggle to believe anyone would want to work in HR

I would be put off any company that has a large HR department that operates in the way we saw.

I think the reasons are very much what you talk about. Along the line HR has changed from being about talent and “Human Resources” into “How much financial resources these human resources cost us”.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

There’s a great point in the article I talk about …

No one who has ambition and drive would aspire to work in HR! Maybe it’s a case of ‘Those who can’t be good managers, do HR’.

Oh, and did you like my Status Quo reference?

Comment by Rob

I think thats right, its almost as if the people who like to stifle ambition and drive end up in the roles that are supposed to encourage it.

Id give the quo referece 5/10, not bad but could do better. If the cap Parfitts…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Genius … start ‘Puns Are Us’ and you’d make a billion!

Comment by Rob

But then all the people who complain about ads being puns would start shouting at me!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Sod them … puns rock!

Comment by Rob

[…] or it could be because many people are so frustrated with their HR departments protecting the management team rather than the people, they end up going to the loo and crying their eyes […]

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