|In the last 20 years or so there have been a number of trends, fads and concepts that have served to break the bond between a corporation and its employees, at a huge cost to both.
There are 5 key concepts, this is the third
Dumb Concept #3: “Human Resources”
When you talk to people who work in “Human Resources”, they pretend that they’re all about helping people to become more successful. But the truth is that the entire concept of HR is really just a way to make sure that employees don’t act uppity.
What better way to let people know that they’re expendable commodities than calling them “resources”? Indeed, the entire concept of HR is designed to make the process of dealing with real live people as bloodless as dealing with electricity or shipments of iron ore.
As for the functionaries who’ve glommed onto the term, whenever an HR group gets involved in anything, you get a patina of psychobabble that overlay the opinion that an employee is about as important as making sure the trash gets picked up.
Let’s face it. Many, and probably most, HR groups are just spies and shills for management. Don’t believe me? Try taking a complaint about your manager to the HR group and see what happens.
Once people are reduced to “resources”, you can pretend that making them work unpaid overtime, or firing them because top management screwed up is “better resource utilization.” Most of all, the term communicates in no uncertain terms that you’re completely expendable.
How come you never hear C-level executives being called “management resources”? No, no, of course, not. Those guys are essential! Those guys are the leaders! They’re not replaceable like the hoi-polloi, the plug and play “human resources” at the bottom.
You want to know what a CEO does. He manages a group of 10 to 13 people. Here’s the truth, boys and girls. Being a CEO is marginally more difficult than being a line manager who manages a group of 10 to 13 people.
CEOs do not “run the company”. They manage a group of other managers who presumably are smart enough to — guess what! — manage the group of people who work for them. There’s no reason in heaven or hell that a CEO should get paid more that few multiples of what the “human resources” who actually do the work.
So, as we go forward, let’s stop talking about “human resources” and start calling people what they are: people. People who have real lives and real ideas and real emotions and who, frankly, are doing work that’s often more important than that of the top executives.