Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Here We Go Again...More Haters on HR

I get so tired of reading one-sided, non-researched articles on "why so-and -so hates HR." I have heard why Fast Company hates HR. I have heard why CFO's hate HR. And now, we have a new blog post on why 5 CEO's hate HR. (You must read this).

Here is the deal.

Yes, we as a profession have been slow to embrace some very important concepts like, I don't know...business acumen, metrics and strategic alignment. I get that, I do.

However, I feel we have come a long way...baby from that first Fast Company article that depicted HR as picnic-loving-administrators.

I teach HR, I consult on HR, I am President Elect for one of the biggest SHRM Chapters in this country. I was not born an HR person...I just wound up here. So, my point is..I know this profession and I see progress.

I see HR professionals that are getting it done and making changes. Here are a few examples:

1) I see HR Directors and higher getting involved in organizational strategic discussion and then linking their own strategy to it.

2) I see HR leaders either getting metrics savvy or hiring that competency as the business is demanding that.

3) I see talent management being the priority for HR leaders

4) I see HR leaders embracing technology, even in the cloud way more than 10 years ago.

5) I see HR leaders getting MBA's and other degrees to gain credibility and business acumen.

6) I see colleges and universities adding statistical and financial classes to their HR curriculum.

7) I see, everyday young HR leaders that have a different mindset when it comes to HR. Check out Ben Eubanks, Teela Jackson, and many others that don't have the damn "Seat at the Table" baggage strapped to their back.

As you can see I am a little fired up on this subject. I believe as I have said many times, HR YOUR A ROCKSTAR!

Do we have a LONG way to go, yes? But are we listening to the demands of our CEO's and business leaders...yes. I believe this recession has been a good thing for HR. It has forced HR to be more effective.

I think I will go and research why CEO's love HR now....

UPDATE: This blog post from the HR Bartender was just brought to my attention...excellent as well on "Stop Bashing HR."


Anonymous said...

If HR is a true profession, why then does the professions of Attorney at Law, CPA, Medical Doctor, Engineer, Dentist, Surgeon,and others require a college degree in the specific function but HR does not need HR degree?

Stuart Shaw said...

Hi Cathy, yep, agree completely. I also saw the Stop Bashing HR post. Got me mad. But then, it made me smile.

I have a theory that this is born not out of a misunderstanding of the value of what HR offers, but a fear of their growing dominance, not just for a seat at a table, but the top table seat itself.

I mean, who exactly on the boards of BP or Lehman et al made the crazy decisions that put their busineseses in such plight - not to mention the world? Oh yeah, those who claim to speak businesses speak? Who have MBA's? Whose medieval (talk about valueless and clueless bordering on the pathological) accountancy and financial valuations caused and then missed the financial crisis? Who was out playing golf with politicians while their companies bankrupted the future of our children?

The simple fact is that customers are not just sick of this system, they can see right through it. The old guard hiding behind grandiose job titles and fancy spreadsheets are on the run. Not only have they proved out of date and incompetent on a scale that makes HR look positively godly, they have nowhere to hide.

The irony of course is that with HR (and more women and ethic groups etc) on boards, where would we be? Not in this hell hole. Mistakes would have been made, sure, but not on this scale, and not so willfully unethical.

So when I hear a CEO or CFO knocking HR, I smile just as much as when I hear them calling for HR to come running and detoxify the board to save the business. Those that bash, are lashing out because they're scared. The bullies have had their bluff called and their time is running out. (In fact, doesn't their rancour just prove our point?)

One thing though that must happen and that is we must stop cloning HR into the 'enemy'. What's needed more than ever is the opposite: for boards to be 'softened' up.

Personally, I think this starts with HR and Risk being locked in a room together - which you can read more about in my freebie white paper, Human Capital Risk - Rehumanising the Firm if you like - http://www.hpa-group.com/publications/rehumanising-the-firm

Take care

Unknown said...


There are many professional positions that don't require a degree. Customer Service, Marketing, Operations, Public Service, Project Managers, etc. But there are certifications like the PHR/SPHR that adds credibility to professional positions. Look inside any organization inane function...not every person has a degree.

I don't get this argument.


Unknown said...


Thanks for such an awesome response. You know I never thought of the "haters" that way. You have such good points.

I too believe HR has to reposition itself and do a whole "rebrand" I think we are in the process of that right now.

All, I have to say is....stay tuned!

I can't wait to read your white paper and thanks for sharing.


Project Management Training said...

Most companies today spend too little effort on attracting and retaining top strategic talent and too much on satisfying the rest of the employee base