HR Controversy in the Blogosphere


If you think HR is boring, you’re right; however, we do have a few of our own controversies circling around the blogosphere.

No, there isn’t a conflict between those who want to use red personnel folders and those who prefer blue. (Although I’m not saying that the specific color of folders hasn’t been an issue in the HR community. I prefer burning personnel files and storing everything electronically, but if I had to pick a color, it would be green.)

Here’s a rundown of the gossip.

  • The first HR blogging controversy involves our bi-weekly carnival. A carnival is an event where a blogger hosts a summary of HR topics from our collective blogs. The issue, as clearly articulated by Evil HR Lady, is simple: Should a host be able to require submissions on a certain theme or should they just deal with whatever gets submitted?

Whoa. Better get the United Nations to help us navigate those tricky waters! If you haven’t done so, please go to EHRL’s website and weigh in on this heavy topic. While you’re there, also weigh in on the impending crisis in Iran and the North Korean nuclear issue.

Diversity issues are always heated, and Kris Dunn, the editor and founder of FOT, posted an editor’s note at the end of Jessica’s post that read:

Editor’s Note – Jessica Lee is an Employment Manager for APCO Worldwide, a global PR firm in D.C. Like most upscale HR pros, she spends half of her time on recruiting, the other half on ER, Training and OD. In a rare serious Editor’s note, this post is presented not to debate the moral issues surrounding gay rights, but the appearance of employment branding to this segment of the candidate population – a real issue for recruiters and HR pros alike…

Many of us understand why Kris wrote his editor’s note, but some HR bloggers (including me) are uncomfortable with it. The issue of GLBT rights is touchy — although it shouldn’t be — and our natural tendencies move us away from honest and candid discussions of race, class, gender, and sexuality at the office. Kris and Jessica get points for publishing a great article; however, HR Wench — who is a very good blogger and no slouch when it comes to taking on issues in the workforce — took umbrage with the last sentence of the editor’s note. She wrote a very compelling response that challenges us, as HR practitioners, to examine the very nature of fair & balanced blogging when it comes to such controversial issues.

For my money, the comments section of HR Wench’s post is worth a look, too. It represents a turning point for our HR blogging community. It’s the first time I have seen HR bloggers engage in such a heated, political discussion. We’re not a bunch of Toby Flenderson wallflowers, and it shows.

Unfortunately, Kris Dunn and FOT received several unkind email messages — and he closed the comments on Jessica’s GLBT post. I would love to read those email messages and comments. I feel that printing those email messages would expose our HR community, and non-HR readers, to other points of view. Also, I think our readers would love to expose stupid behaviors in the marketplace of ideas. (Isn’t that what we do for a living?)

Whether you accept GLBT rights or you don’t, your points of view should be able to withstand the scrutinity of the FOT comments section.

Really, punk rockers, I just love it when HR practitioners get all worked up about stuff. Challenging the status quo starts with baby steps, and the aforementioned controversies are two big steps. We are a subculture of bloggers who write about Human Resources; however, one day, we might be the experts. Let’s start flexing our mental muscles and have real conversations with one another so that, one day, we can have real conversations with our executive leaders and our employees.

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