Fast Company article on HR

Has anyone read this article? (Why We Hate HR)
I just received notice from my state SHRM council. They seem none too pleased. Here is the link:

They went on to say "The Society is aware of the story and is responding in several ways."

..."the Society takes serious issue with the negativity and misleading generalizations of the story."

Your thoughts? I've never heard of this magazine.


  • 13 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Now, that's an article every HR person should read. I've got to go through it again before I make any other comments.
  • Fascinating article – ditto to Gillian – worthy of a second read. Print it and take it home for the weekend.
  • I did the same thing. Think someone has an axe to grind? This should be fun reading (again) while I'm out on the new deck.
  • Interesting article. While an irritating read and as most HR professionals know, pretty off base. The sad part is, it probably mirrors the sentiments of many employers/executives. We all know its a daily battle to "convince" our employers that HR offers something more than "personnel" or an admin function to get people on and off the jobs and enrolled in benefits.
  • I read all the way down the first major bullet point with the big red number 1. Then my interest waned and I sent it to a few HR execs in our organization for their amusement. This guy is obviously a junior reporter type struggling for the attention of the short skirts in his organization but not able to understand that his incessant nose picking is his major problem.

    Probably a guy who struggled through numerous interviews, attempting to market a basically useless journalism degree. He blames his lot in life on the HR professionals who interviewed him in all those failed attempts. He's transferred his feelings of dismal impotence to those he revealed it to, or better yet, to those who pulled it from him while he slouched through interviews. But, it's OK. We frequently know that happens in our roles. He probably wrote a similar article about psychologists.

    Disclaimer: This message is not intended to offend or attack. It is posted as personal opinion. If you find yourself offended or uncomfortable, email me and let me know why.
  • Just take the emotion out of it and read it. I think he hit the nail on the head.
  • The magazine has been sitting on my desk for 2 weeks now... I skimmed it briefly and then put it aside thinking I could use it for a class project/report/paper soon so I didn't want to read it in depth right away. I'll go back tonight and read it over.
  • I read through the first major bullet point and decided to print it out and forward a copy to my boss. This article, even though it initally p*ss*d me off, actually expresses the worst frustrations I deal with regularly, and I'm hoping the boss sees himself and some parts of our agency in it. I'll certainly be referring to the article in my self-appraisal that's due this month.
  • In my opinion, a lot of what the author say's is valid. There is a reason why we have been talking about being strategic partners for 20 years - we aren't viewed as being qualified to be a strategic partner. If the SHRM poll that is quoted by the author is correct, that only 2% of us view courses in finance as relevant, we have a problem. Fortunately, there are exceptions, as noted by the author, but the exceptions exist because HR, in those companies, is business oriented, with an HR twist. I think that many of us become very good - administratively - but that is where it ends. A strategic perspective would encourage us to ask questions about business problems, then analyze and do something about any HR issue involved in proposed solutions. What do we do that management likes or dislikes, and what should be done about that? Administrative stuff has to be done of course, but there is more to it than that. Here's my take on some of the specific points that the author makes.

    Performance Appraisal - why are we the champions of a process which is disliked by employees and supervisors alike and which does not accurately measure performance, in most cases? The author thinks that we use the documentation to defend ourselves legally. Well, performance appraisals are usually documention we wished we didn't have. The employee who was fired for poor performance was at least rated "adequate" in the appraisal, but often higher than that. Either fix the process or do away with it. Fixing the problem can only be done when the CEO and direct reports take on appraisal as "their" management tool. It won't be fixed so long as appraisal is an HR thing.

    We aren't the sharpest tack in the box - baloney, HR people are just as sharp as everyone else. We just need to include some business savvy in our toolbox. The planting of unsuccessful people in HR happens much less frequently than it happened in the past.

    Standardization and uniformity - the author claims that we value this over making exceptions. He is right and we should be evaluating whether or not exceptions to the rule make sense and then do what is best for the business. I think that this is driven by the legal profession which has a zero risk mentality. A zero risk mentality won't get us a "seat at the table".

    Outsourcing - this is growing by leaps and bounds and the author is correct. If the administrative component of HR can be outsourced, there will be nothing left for those who just do administrative stuff. For a peek at what outsourcing can do, go to [url][/url], click on HR Solutions, then HR Outsource.

    Thanks, HR in GA for bringing this to our attention.

  • I printed the article to read later, but after reading just one of the first paragraphs, "It's no wonder that we hate HR. In a 2005 survey by consultancy Hay Group, just 40% of employees commended their companies for retaining high-quality workers. Just 41% agreed that performance evaluations were fair. Only 58% rated their job training as favorable. Most said they had few opportunities for advancement -- and that they didn't know, in any case, what was required to move up. Most telling, only about half of workers below the manager level believed their companies took a genuine interest in their well-being.", it seems that managers and supervisors could take some of the blame for why employees hate HR. Last I checked they had just as much responsibility for retaining good employees as HR, maybe even more since they work with them more closely. And isn't it the managers and supervisors that are actually doing the performance evaluations and supposed to be training their employees and telling them what they need to do to move up? How can you blame those things on HR? We have a lot of turnover in our manufacturing plant, and unfortunately I've heard more than once that employees are yelled at on their first days because they don't pick up the skills quickly enough, or no one told them what to do. It's frustrating to bring in qualified applicants only to have them scared off by our team leads and supervisors.

  • No, supervisor stupidity can't be blamed on HR, and please don't take this personally, but the fact that it is happening this way is an HR problem. What can we do to ensure that employees are treated properly, become trained employees, and make good products? I bet I know what would happen if the company decided to outsource HR. The recruiting would be done pretty much the same as now, the supervisors would be still running people out the door, the new outsourcing company (having credibility) would go to the President and say - you've got a problem, here it is and here is how we propose to fix it, and by the way, supervisors who can't learn to be proper supervisors should be replaced. The President would say - go to it.
  • "the new outsourcing company (having credibility) would go to the President and say - you've got a problem, here it is and here is how we propose to fix it, and by the way, supervisors who can't learn to be proper supervisors should be replaced. The President would say - go to it."

    You seem to have missed a step. What about, "Here is our proposal for correcting your problems, using the latest in 'consulting best practice', indexed for inflation, discounted by regional costing formula, including our 'advanced issues analysis, with recommendations',and finally, our bottom line figure, rounded to the nearest hundred thousand dollars."

    Outsourcing never solves more problems than it creates.

    Sorry to interrupt.

  • "It's frustrating to bring in qualified applicants only to have them scared off by our team leads and supervisors."

    A little off the subject BUT, it's a heck of a lot easier to find qualified applicants than it is to find qualified supervisors.

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