Human ‘Resource’ – Part 1

Ever wonder whether the Human Resources department are advocating on behalf of the staff or that of the bosses? Well, the bosses are paying them their salary so of course they work for the bosses? Wait, but didn’t the boss hire them so that they can bring in good people and shouldn’t they be continuously advocating for the staff so that they can continue to bring good staff in? So what exactly then, is the role and objective of HR?

I think we have to go back to the time where industrialisation was at its peak in the global economy and realise that human resources is about bringing in the manpower to be working alongside capital/machines in order to produce output. Every human was supposed to be easily replaceable on the factory floor and the HR or manpower department was just making sure they have people filling up ‘vacancies’ – which were really empty spaces and seats on the factory floor.

Fast forward to today, we might not be working in factories but those who are schooled in scientific management continues to think so and manage organisations in the same way. They treat job positions as ‘vacancies’ to be filled and hence expects HR to perform their job that way: what it takes to fill the position, and to fill it ‘to spec’ according to some Job Description or criteria. Well in a post-Covid world, we might not have cubicles or desks to fill anymore because people are working from home; or we might not even have a physical office (which really was just a convenient substitution of the factory floor); why are we still stuck with HR trying to just merely fill in spaces?

Because management still thinks human are just resources; and these resources costs salary. They still think that every human is just rather replaceable like the standardised parts of a machine or just a piece of equipment along the assembly line. It is only during appraisals that they start thinking about how the individual have contributed, grown, and consider their aspirations. The rest of the time, it’s just back to the factory grind.

Time, I think, for a change.


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