They're not resources.
In the cannon of HR material today there is a noticeable and worrisome bent. People as resources simply to be applied.
And perhaps used, spent and discarded as well.
Our business dynamic is demanding. Amid the so-called jobless recovery in the US and the extremely slow return to economic virility in the EU jobs are viewed as numbers more than anything else easily counted, swapped and moved from column to column, eg., employed to unemployed.
We forget jobs are held by humans.
In the rush to prove our mettle we in HR remind each other not to seek the treasure of a seat at the proverbial table, to deliver value and to become a part of the business as if somehow we weren't.
Regardless of function we run faster and faster trying to keep up with increasing demand crying like the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, I'm late, I'm late, but knowing not for what.
Lost in the wayside are people. We need to care about people.
That's right, I said it: We're supposed to care about each other.
And HR ought never to lose sight of that.
Each organization practices the HR it does given multiple environmental variables. Public sector, private or NGO. Organized or union-free. Trades, crafts, manufacturing, sales and now of course the creative sector. The needs of each differ thus the HR solution changes by setting.
But the need to care for people is constant. It isn't impinged by sectors, science or georgraphy. If you are in HR you have to care about people.
To the HR practitioner: there is no shame in caring.
What You Believe
Fifty years ago Douglas McGregor asked us to consider two theories of management – what we now casually call X & Y – in his seminal work, The Human Side of Enterprise. Interestingly, he didn't actually hold that Theory Y was better. Lazy readers around the globe just assumed so, raising the banners high until moving on to the next fad missing the essential question in McGregor's text: what do you believe?
What beliefs do you hold about the value, worth and significance of people in the organization? This is a highly important yet personal question: have you asked it of yourself lately?
In times of real stress [not simply being “busy”] our core beliefs are revealed. Just like finding the rocks in a river bed by lowering the water level as pressure increases around us our true world view is exposed.
What's your view?
How you do embrace the HR function?
If you think HR is simply an extension of management science albeit with a little art thrown in, please act accordingly. Yet with the benefit of experience I opine that the work world is at once more complex and yet simple than that.
The value of a person at work comes from who they are innately, not in the role they occupy at a point in time. Their character, core and concern for others.
Human resources is all about creating and sustaining an environment driving performance, contribution and commitment.
Let us remember people inhabit that environment.
Let us remember the human side of enterprise and demonstrate care for people.
They are not resources.