Where is the humanity in Human Resources?

Where is the humanity in Human Resources?

While corporate HR departments exist ostensibly to look after the interests of their people, too many of us feel that the reality is very different. It is #HRfail.

By King Kozelle

Upon the death of his first wife Kato, Joseph Stalin is quoted as saying: This creature softened my heart of stone. She died and with her died my last warm feelings for humanity.

History shows that the Soviet dictator was true to his word. The victims of his misanthropic hostility number in their millions.

Of course, misanthropic hostility is anything but uncommon in socialist nirvanas. And such rank hypocrisy has always struck me: a system that is meant to lead to the betterment of its people doing the exact opposite.

But you need not travel to socialist countries to experience this strange blend of antisocial hypocrisy. In fact, many of you will recognize it in action in none other than your own workplaces.

It is safe to assume that we have all encountered either a boss or colleague with a heart of stone. Probably both.

And, if my experience is anything to go by, you will have also found them in your Human Resources department. In fact, you are more likely to find them in HR than not.

To the uninitiated, HR is the last place you would assume to find individuals who are not “people people”. But it is actually the decidedly logical place for it.

The reason for it is un-mysterious. It’s in the name, stupid.

When the department responsible for people think of us as “resources”, it is little wonder that so many of us feel exploited and diminished by HR. That we do not belong.

For justifiable reasons, we do not think HR is on our side. They resemble the enemy within: not serving our interests and lacking our trust. They fail us repeatedly. And are their own proof of #HRfail.

The similarities between corporate HR and socialism are striking. They both legitimate their authority through a top-down power structure and enforce a culture that brooks no non-conformity or dissent.

The elitism is rampant. The self-righteousness is toxic.

We are expected to submit unconditionally to our overlords and obey the directives they impose on us. They know better than us. They are better than us. So they do things to you, not for you.

Those of us who question their authority or decisions are automatically looked upon with suspicion. Labeled as troublemakers. Marginalised and targeted for it. And, ultimately, cast out.

With allusions to the greater good or the sake of the company, both socialism and HR erase the individual. They treat us as “the other”. Dehumanise us.

It is a phenomenon that makes a mockery of what should be a shared mission for people and their wellbeing. Instead, process and control are the priority. Our society and workplaces are the worse for it.

HR is the champion of corporate socialism. Its symbol and enabler. The institutional emblem and engine. Removed from the rest of an organisation’s workforce. Set apart and above.

It is, therefore, no surprise that HR’s policies are taken straight from the socialist manifesto. An obsessive preoccupation with equality and group identity. Virtue signalling on a variety of ideologically aligned social justice issues. Indoctrinating people in its “woke” propaganda through compulsory re-education programs.

Yet, at the very same time, HR is guilty of an astonishing dereliction of duty when it comes to fulfilling its most basic responsibilities to individuals.

Let us not forget that its catastrophic failure to protect victims of sexual harassment was the catalyst for the MeToo movement. Quite simply, HR is to MeToo what Frankenstein is to his monster.

Like socialism, HR is a chimera. It is all pretence and no substance. It is the promise without the delivery. And it is why #HRfail is our near-universal experience.

About the author:

S. Franklin “King” Kozelle is an Antipodean writer and polemicist, with over 25 years of experience as a college teaching fellow and senior civil servant.

Follow the author on Twitter @KingKozelle.

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