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Feb
12 2012

Wish I’d Said It: Why We Shouldn’t Hate HR

Syndicated from: balance-AND-results

This will be a slightly grumpier sounding post because I’m going to point you to Liz Ryan’s blog post on Huffington Post’s site for a fabulous article everyone should be reading that answers this challenge enormously well. In future when this subject comes up – like the old Why We Hate HR article from Fast Company, which is still being written about widely these many years later – these are some of the arguments and constructive suggestions I’ll add to what I’ve put forward before. From an HR executive’s perspective, Ryan’s comments should feel like pure common sense. We have just one more question to ask – why aren’t more executives aware of or paying attention to similar arguments? With good arguments on our side, well thought out, perhaps now is the time to dig in a bit. One reason has to be that most simply don’t want to sit still to hear about the logic of the most complex workplace function. Many probably fear it would overwhelm them – too distracting to master – and it won’t add value. Little value, massive time? They couldn’t be more wrong on all counts. When we think of ‘business’ or ‘non-profit’ we think about the objectives – make money or deliver service – not about the people who do these. We hide behind umbrella words – ‘a business is an individual or an organization set up to make money.’ Somehow in that word ‘organization’ we lose all sense of the many individuals – single individuals – persons who each contribute, or don’t. Dealing with the needs of so many one at a time seems impossible, though successful companies prove it isn’t. The second major reason to overcome, sadly, has to be because executives have long been able to ignore HR issues with virtual impunity. They can, so they do. That’s ending and we can help. Executives can’t ignore poor sales for very long or poor budgeting or over-spending or poor IT (any more) or poor whatever, but they can ignore poor behavior on the part of managers, including themselves, for years. They can ‘save time’ by ignoring people in the organization because ‘people are adults who can take care of themselves’ or should be, so they think. They suppose people should just grow up and suck it up, yet they are often the first to cry wounded when someone slights THEM. If someone’s nose is out of joint, if they’re not fully engaged, having a bad day, week, month, year – well, many think, they should know how to get over it. The cream will rise to the top on its own and a handful of highly effective people will pop up who can be depended on to pull everything out of the fire one more time without all this “HR hand-holding.” Won’t they? After all, isn’t that what they’re paid for. If they want to continue to have jobs..? So executives tolerate the admin and legal functions of HR that ‘somebody has to look after’ and complain bitterly that HR just gets in the way – especially of their personal desire to behave as they wish – and other silly rules HR imposes (which, even though necessary for some in the organization, shouldn’t be necessary for me). Most of the time, the complaints about HR don’t arise from evil intent on the part of such executives, but from imaginary lack of time, patience or interest for people topics. Unfortunately a great many still believe that taking an interest just isn’t part of their jobs, but something that can be delegated to a function they ignore like taking out the trash. If they felt that way about budgeting or other parts of their job, well, they wouldn’t be around long after being told flatly to shape up or else. Oddly that doesn’t happen with HR in many cases. These people like to feel they’re playing hardball. Perhaps it’s time we do, too? Bookmark and share this post More »

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