The only people who take “Human Resources” seriously work in Human Resources. Every fool knows that! Everyone else laughs under their sleeve at the idea “our greatest capital is in our people”.
I say this with confidence having worked in a variety of organisations at the bottom and close to the top and I have never worked in one that is not dynamised by contempt for HR.
Part of the reason that HT gets such a hard time in this country is that we have neither universal unions nor a Government prepared to demand worker’s rights.
Unlike our European neighbours who have generally adopted the EU’s “information and consultation of employees (ICE)” regulations, few employers, let alone employees in the UK, even know they exist.
This seems an odd state of affairs and I was very encouraged to hear Matthew Taylor, who’s report is out any day now, asking his audience
“As we encourage people to vote . . . to inform themselves of issues, to volunteer in their community, is it defensible to say that for eight or more hours a day they should accept being ignored, denied information, treated as mere cogs in a machine?”
For all the talk of “engagement”, bosses do little to encourage it in the workplace and I hope that the Taylor report will call for a much wider adoption of ICEs in the workplace. Even at First Actuarial, the best employer I have ever worked for, the rights of our workforce to really know their company and its strategy are weak. We could do much more and we are one of the best.
It has been a long-time since Will Hutton published his seminal work on the stakeholder economy. It is time we revisited it and maybe the Taylor report will. We are all stakeholders in our employment, but you’d never know it from the way we treat HR!