There was a predictable outsplurge of unhappy bleats at this comment uplifted from a survey of HR practitioners in New Zealand.
The emphasis of these squeals has been on the pink aspect. Pink has variously coloured the causes of women, LGBTI (MNOP…?), communists (pinkos) and breast cancer victims. In the above context the suggestion is of over-representation of women in the HR function with all the connotations of glass ceilings, misogyny, chauvinism, discrimination and all those vices of males in business. We must not forget that women known as “welfare secretaries” started HR in the late 19th Century… but I digress.
Ghetto is my focus. It has a hint of slum – a place where the inconvenient people are quartered, presumably for control purposes. Quite often these people have competencies perceived as threatening by those in power.
If they do their job, HR are inconvenient: they say to bosses and employees “you can’t do that; you must do this…” They are wise like witch doctors. They have studied human beings and laws so know what must be done to be compliant. They are usually right.
Bosses don’t like HR because they fetter their authority, give strong advice but never carry the can and usually know where the bodies are buried. Employees don’t like them because they decide who is employed, who can stay, who must go, who gets paid more or less and worst of all: at the end of the day they will side with the Man.
Well, now the unions’ work is done by government, who regulate welfare and naughty employers, and most other functions can be outsourced. IT collect all the stats and accountants rule the roost, so decision-making is logical and economical and labour is just a commodity, right?
Why are HR still there? Because they are the termination experts!
That’s why HR’re in the ghetto – so they get the message and leave.
What they need to do is get outta administrivia cocoons and come back in the front door with skills that ensure utility; facilitating the maximisation, collaboration and sharing of talent intelligence which will dictate future modes of delivery in the post post capital age.
Sometimes I’m glad I am retired; otherwise I would have to know what the last bit means…
One thought on “HR is a Pink Ghetto ”
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a job where all you had to do was come up with big grownup sentences like the one in your last paragraph? It wouldn’t be hard – you ‘d put together a database of stock phrases, each under an appropriate heading such as Left-wing, Right-wing, Eco etc, and make sure you didn’t mix them up. For example, you wouldn’t sell one that contained the phrase ‘post capital’ on a right wing organisation.
These big grownup sentences could have many useful applications, from making an under-manager look big and grownup at a meeting , to discouraging staff from taking lunchbreaks by placing a poster-sized big grownup sentence on the canteen door. Obviously, it wouldn’t tell people not to have lunch; it’d just say something totally obscure, cleverly giving the impression that a Bad Thing may happen if they took time off.