The article is so insulting that I don’t even know where to begin.
Mr. Hammonds indicates that HR professionals are “not the sharpest tacks in the box”. This in itself is a laughable statement, as the HR people I know are well educated, well spoken and possess strong business acumen. The HR department that Mr. Hammond refers to may be the “Personnel Department” of yesteryear, when the department’s sole purpose was to keep the company staffed and make sure that employees had a shoulder to cry on when they were laid off.
That is not the HR of today. HR, in many companies, is considered to be a business partner with management. This means that HR personnel is expected to not only be aware of what the business does, but how HR is expected to lend to the company’s mission. HR is not solely about “being a social worker” as the article indicates. HR is expected to sit on the management team while walking the fine line of protecting the company and ensuring that employees follow policies and procedures and delivering training so that they may perform to the best of their abilities (not just training for training’s sake per Mr. Hammonds). HR’s duty is to also make sure that employees are treated equally at all times, work with managers who don’t necessarily understand what is required of them, navigate the maze of constantly (and consistently) changing employment laws (particularly in California), manage LOA’s and benefits all the while making sure that the turnover rate does not increase and departments are sufficiently staffed. Most of the HR professionals that I know understand that employees are what drives the business in concert with the company product and a strong mission. To state that HR performs performance appraisals every year so to protect the company in order to “protect themselves against their own employees” is ludicrous.
The allegations that Mr. Hammonds makes in this article are completely unfounded and should be laughed off by anyone who has worked with a good HR department. Unfortunately, I have heard horror stories by those who have dealt with a less than capable HR deparment. I have dealt with one myself and in fact, learned what not to do from those people, but again, I truly believe that those are becoming fewer and farther between. Organizations like SHRM go a long way in creating professional standards and training opportunities for HR professionals.
It also amazes me that Fast Company, a business magazine that is trying to make a sincere comeback since the dot com days would take such a bold step by insulting a large part of the business community by not only publishing this story, but by making this story a cover story. This is not the way to win new business.
Personally, I’m cancelling my subscription and suggest others do the same.