You Are Not Allowed to Criticize HR

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I am not a fan of people who’ve never worked in Human Resources and bag on my profession like they know what they’re talking about.

Let’s review a few of the reasons why HR exists in the first place.

  • North America and Western Europe experienced a rapid expansion of the workforce and companies needed to create infrastructure to manage that growth.
  • Executives & leaders were disinterested in managing the shenanigans and affairs of their employees.
  • Shareholders demanded that companies fight aggressive union organization efforts, reduce labor costs, and increase productivity.

Your friendly neighborhood payroll department became personnel; that monster became a behemoth known as Human Resources; and now there are Human Capital departments that include recruiting/staffing, onboarding, training, leadership development, compensation, benefits, branding, communications, HRIT, knowledge management, offboarding, emergency preparedness, safety, and pedicures.

This didn’t happen in a vacuum. The best and the brightest business minds let this happen over time. It was a choice.

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Also, please note something very important:

  • Where’s there is inefficiency, there is profit.

HR’s most vocal critics have no experience working with senior leaders, no meaningful background in Human Capital, and no idea how to navigate a hyper-political structure in a global corporate landscapes. These are men and women who bemoan the modern state of Human Capital management and make money off the backs of broken HR departments.

The next time someone tells you that HR sucks, ask them to name a single thing they’ve done to fix it. Has this person offered a concrete solution that ameliorates a problem in a Human Resources department?

I don’t think so. What you’ll hear is a lot of blah blah blah, HR sucks, they’re a bunch of admins who don’t know how to recruit, and health insurance costs too much, they don’t know how to use technology, and those biddies remind me of my shrewy mother-in-law.

It’s true. I’ve heard this stuff from the mouths of far too many critics. Especially the mother-in-law part.

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I’m not saying that HR doesn’t suck, but most critics are no better informed on HR issues than the minions who work in the department. They might be worse.

I think it’s time for these critics to shut up and get off the (social media) stage so we can hear from real people with real ideas.

[Maybe I should leave the stage. Maybe.]

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