The Problem with Human Resources!

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People in this area of work are not merely the “tea and sympathy” department but are business strategists tasked with identifying cultural and structural needs and problems well in advance of the rest of the business and able to forecast and address future requirements accordingly. Often the HRD will have a seat on the board and almost always they will be responsible for the effective care, assessment and supervision of people earning vastly more than they earn or are ever likely to earn.

The problem lies in referring to humans as “resources”. Resources are fungible, exploitable and disposable and none of us want to be seen in this way; it demeans, dehumanises and unsettles us. Lateral recruitment criteria in all sectors are through the roof; people are not hired for having a basic skill-set that meets a need; their behavioural fit, sectoral relevance, future potential etc. are all scrutinised carefully before a hire takes place: this care in selection does not equate to humans as a tradable and exchangeable commodity.

“Human Capital” has been tried as an alternative and is, if anything, more linguistically unattractive. This phraseology really drills down into employees being nothing more than units of greater or lesser financial value.

Then there are the non-titles below, all apparently real and which, depending on your personal make up, will make you want to gag on a spoon or chortle ‘till you choke:

Chief Happiness Officer – Bobo the clown?

Chief Heart Officer – Native American Cardiologist / Cop?

Employee Experience Architect – Erm… what?

Employee Journey Advisor – Jog on!

Adventure Coach – Technicolour Yawn initiator.

HR Scrum Master – #inappropriateTouching!

Agile Coach – Bendy bus?

Vibe Manager & Head of all things Awesome – Has beard & inflated ego.

Design Thinking Facilitator – That’s… that’s not a thing!

Talent Champion – I am the greatest! No… You are the greatest! #confused.

How about “Department for Humans” or just back to “Personnel”? Names do matter as do people and demeaning titles tend to result in resentment and silly titles in a lack of respect which may, but for the title, be fully deserved.

Mark Husband

Chief Nominative Determinism Spirit Guide

Jepson Holt