Sick and tired of HR rhetoric

by 21 Aug 2007

That’s it; I am sick and tired of all this continual HR rhetoric. If my company isn’t talking about “talent management” it’s talking about the “psychological contract” or “continual employee development”. Who knows what next month’s buzz phrase is going to be? The only thing that has remained consistent during the past five years is that all these empty HR/retention strategies are a load of hot air.

I may have given you the initial impression that I am not the greatest advocate of the HR function; this is not the case. It may also surprise you that I am in fact an HR professional and have been since gaining my degree in HR management nearly 10 years ago.

This is the problem. I champion most of these innovative HR theories, and not only that – I believe in them. My issue is that there is little to no real conviction or delivery behind them from 99 per cent of companies. As I read through my company’s newsletter at the beginning of every month, I cannot help but cringe at the “fluffy duffy” (my new HR terminology; it should catch on soon) articles on how to manage your employees and get the best results, and so on. The last time I checked, everyone in my office had psychologically checked out a long time ago and most of their working day entailed traipsing through Seek and MyCareer in the hope of finding an organisation that can and will deliver on their magnificent people strategy.

Then, as sure as night follows day, people begin to resign from our self-interested and short-sighted company much to the amazement of management. Their incessant confusion as to why people are leaving the organisation is eventually remedied by turning the problem around on to the individual instead of themselves; heaven forbid such a market-leading, people-friendly organisation could be at fault. “No, no, that member of staff just wasn’t right for the role and couldn’t handle the pressure” are phrases that echo around the office all too often.

Management and HR, please kindly remove your head from the sand. Start practicing, with conviction some of these wonderful strategies you have been teasing us with over the last decade, otherwise I will be here, writing the same letter in five years time; just that bit more cynically and smugly.

– Nicholas Vaghenas