My thanks to George Lenard for picking up on something I wrote earlier and continuing the exploration of the HR debate:
[I]n business, one tends to be judged on outcomes, and the outcome and the bottom line is HR sucks.
My response is as follows:
You’re right. My post was abruptly negative, and it’s because I have a dim view of HR. However, your highlighting of my post made me think further: My issue with HR is largely around hiring efficacy. Having spent the last eleven months on a job search, my view of HR is formed by people who call you in for an interview, but check out during the course of the conversation; people who take your CV forward for positions for which you clearly don’t have the skillset (i.e., its an advertising job, but my background is marketing and promotions); or, worse, people who tell you that there’s an opportunity, that they’ll set up a meeting for you, but never do (and, by the way, you never hear from them again). My experience leads me to believe it when Fast Company makes the “not the sharpest knife in the drawer analogy”.
From looking at your blog, I’m reminded that HR does do a lot of important work around compliance, benefits, etc. These are not minor issues.
However, I would ask you to keep in mind that the FC article and the debate it’s engendered speaks to a real frustration with the HR function. There is a genuine sense, particularly as it relates to hiring, that HR people are only reactive, that they’re only filling requisitions. In a knowledge economy, all a company really has to stand on is its ability to attract and retain talent. This is where, in the case of most companies, I’d say that HR not only stumbles, but falls flat. I’d like to see a more developed approach that says, Here’s someone who’s talented and would add value to our company. How can we get them here?
On the other hand, maybe it’s just a numbers game, i.e., in an industry like advertising or marketing, companies know that there are many more talented folks than there are available openings, so they’ll never have to worry about talent. Somebody will fill a slot.