«HR is a job for losers»

«HR is a job for losers» 3

I’m working out of the Denver office this week. Yesterday evening I was sitting at the bar of the hotel pub, sipping a pint of local pale ale, when I accidentally overheard a conversation a lady was having via FaceTime (considering the high tone of voice, I guess everybody listened…).

What? HR?
Come on, that is a job for losers.
Only people that are sure they will never an impact in their life, would choose such a job.

What worried the most was that the gentleman that was sitting on my other side, who looked at me and told me “she’s right, my daughter wanted to do the same studying some kind of behavioural stuff, but know luckily she’s doing Business Administration, so she can do something productive“. I wasn’t really sure what to answer, so I finished the beer, nodded to the gentleman and left, not necessarily in a good mood.

Luckily I’m not the type of person that has self-esteem issues. But these remarks hit an open nerve: how is our professional family perceived outside? Is it true that we “cannot make an impact” and are not “productive”?
Of course, it is not the first time this issue emerges.

Considering my focus on customer satisfaction, you know that for me perception is a reality. So these two remarks had me think a lot overnight (and the jet-lag did not help). And have come to a possible conclusion.

As a professional family, we have spent most of the past decade trying to reinvent ourselves, getting a “seat at the table”, crushing organisation with newer versions of our more traditional processes framed into new shiny technologies. We’ve delegated more and more tasks to employees and managers, outsourcing and offshoring some of our core functions, building a distance between “us” and most of the employees. We build internal elitism by way of focusing on the few (talent, HiPos), often forgetting the employability of the rest of the organisation that was delivering the work. We’ve been supporting most cost-cutting experiments, being perceived as the one fundamental source of job insecurity.

If the above is all correct… how can we regain space of shared understanding with the people that are ultimately our real customers: the many multi-faceted talents within our organisations? For sure, organizations are claiming that employees are more and more relevant, we are declaring we want to focus more and more on the experiences of employees. But how much of this has HR in the driver seat, and how much of this is just a cosmetic exercise?

I’m puzzled… because this is not simply a marketing exercise, and I can’t find an easy answer to a problem that I know is not new, but that ultimately affects the professionalism of so many among us.

Is there a solution to this?
Do you really think that «HR is a job for losers»?
What is the Future of HR?

Sergio Caredda - Blog Signature

Photo by Hieu Vu Minh on Unsplash

  1. […] holds true, HR needs to become something completely different than it is today. I’ve already mentioned this: if we keep chasing the idea of becoming business partners, yet we only concentrate on […]

  2. […] (again I would say) on the role of HR. I’ve been especially challenged by the idea that “HR is a job for losers“. I have tried to understand where we can still make the difference, which around (re)taking […]

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