There is a fundamental difference between utopian/naive leftism which has great faith in human nature in the wrong ways … and those of us who have faith in human nature in the sense of support in adversity etc. but who also know that humans, floundering about without a code, a basic structure, are known to go down a Lord of the Flies road.
Unless there are policies in place which we’d call vaguely non-statist, centre-right, based on free enterprise, low tax etc. But it’s more than this – it’s knowing from experience which way things will inevitably go unless there are checks and balances in place to prevent them going that way.
Any form of Marxism – stealing from Peter to pay Paul, goes down that path and HR is another – the most detestable people in the workplace, some have said, worse than traffic wardens:
Let’s face it: After close to 20 years of hopeful rhetoric about becoming “strategic partners” with a “seat at the table” where the business decisions that matter are made, most human-resources professionals aren’t nearly there. They have no seat, and the table is locked inside a conference room to which they have no key. HR people are, for most practical purposes, neither strategic nor leaders.
The human-resources trade long ago proved itself, at best, a necessary evil — and at worst, a dark bureaucratic force that blindly enforces nonsensical rules, resists creativity, and impedes constructive change.
Why are annual performance appraisals so time-consuming — and so routinely useless? Why is HR so often a henchman for the chief financial officer, finding ever-more ingenious ways to cut benefits and hack at payroll? Why do its communications — when we can understand them at all — so often flout reality? Why are so many people processes duplicative and wasteful, creating a forest of paperwork for every minor transaction? And why does HR insist on sameness as a proxy for equity?
It’s no wonder that we hate HR.
I dislike it for those reasons and many more but the overriding reason is that they are Common Purpose types of limited intellect and overweening puffed-uppedness about their own power. In my working life, there were two groups I got on along well with – those at the top and those on the shop floor. The two I did not get along with were middle-managers of overweening ambition … plus HR.
And then there’s the global left bizspeak:
And I have no idea what she’s talking about. There is mention of “internal action learning” and “being more planful in my approach.”
Consistent with the culture of perverting language and policing words, “Human Resources” is one of those modern terms of which the intended and practical meanings are exact opposites.
If you work for an organization large and unfortunate enough to have a dedicated “H.R.” division – and even, perhaps, if you have been a member of that mirthless, officious cohort – you know of what I write.
Born in iniquity, they have become iniquity itself:
Developed in the 1980s to protect corporations from the sudden ubiquity of “sexual harassment” cases, Human Resources departments have persisted and metastasized such that the current generation of workers cannot imagine a world without them. But, like so many cost-driving, self-perpetuating, control-seeking entities one finds in both the public and private sectors, scrutiny yields that not only are they not good at what they do, but what they do is not good.
And so on. The obvious question is what to replace it with – it used to be called Personnel in many organizations. To me, the solution is not so much to replace the functions – hiring and firing – functions which are necessary but to rein in HR as a ‘profession’, as professions have unions and closed shops, they promote people in their image.
To break it open, I’d suggest a return to the work culture where bosses had a huge input and ‘subject to HR vetting’ meant not that they decide who is hired but that they run the background checks. HR are functionaries, not lords and masters. When they start playing witchdoctors or druids – keepers of the ‘hidden knowledge which the boss cannot possibly understand, just leave it to us – then HR has outlived its usefulness.
Unfortunately, MBA courses perpetuate the HR myth.