Philosopher slams HR departments

by HCA13 Jul 2016
Novelist, philosopher and business consultant Alain de Botton, believes employers are reluctant to address employee dissatisfaction, perhaps because they see a split between ‘cultural’ and ‘business’.

"People who come from cultural backgrounds are instinctively suspicious of businesses,” he told the Australian Financial Review this week, whereas, “CEOs are instinctively very shy about psychological material.”

"I don't feel suspicious of either psychology or businesses," he said.

And just as suspicious are employees and he attributes employee dissatisfaction partly to the HR department.

"These guys have a dual role, hiring and sacking. They are also accused of speaking the language no one else understands. It's warm and kind, but it's not true. The truth is, my boss can sack me any minute.”

Swiss-born de Botton’s latest venture is selling his brand of business coaching to Australia's top corporates, from an organisation he calls The School of Life. He coaches businesses on topics such as emotional intelligence and consumer psychology and his business has works with clients such as Telstra, SEEK, MYOB and law firm King & Wood Mallesons.
Originally based in Melbourne, The School of Life is now branching into Sydney.

Best known lately for his views on love, de Botton has taken aim at the HR profession and its place in organisations.

"When you say HR day, most people groan. It is seen as effeminate and an add-on," he said.

"It's like when a couple realises they need to talk about their issues, and there is a certain psychological resistance."


  • by 13/07/2016 11:35:52 AM

    its the proverbial pulpit form which platitudes are dispensed for the multitude, not the preacher. is that what he is saying?

  • by John HR 13/07/2016 11:54:54 AM

    Sorry, I am simple HR practitioner, what is the point of this article - what is the issue and solution that it is proposing?

  • by 13/07/2016 12:44:03 PM

    Could his criticism of HR be linked to promoting the launch of his new business? Not exactly objective feedback.

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