I don’t know about you, but I always thought that HR people were kind, humanist and proactive. I thought they believe in other human beings and had a true will to help people. Man, sometimes I’m so naive I could be the spokesperson for Evian ;-). Anyway, my experience in a work environment and my most recent HR MBA class are showing me the hidden (read ugly) face of the Human Resources.
I would not say that HR can be evil, but let’s say that certain concepts could be misinterpreted. The KITA (kick in the pants) principle is one of them. Mr. Hertzberg wrote a very interesting article in the Harvard Business Review where he is saying that we use a lot of psychological KITA to motivate employees (such as bonuses, extra commission and other incentives). The bottom line is that, most of the time, the employer is the one who is motivated (he is the one kicking) and the employee simply reacts (or move if it’s a real kick in the bottom!). In the end, the company is trying to find a way to create self motivation from the employee by using methods that will only make him move.
The illustration of a KITA is pretty funny, the literature interesting and the optimistic inside me would say that it is a great thing that you boss is trying to find sources of motivation for their employees. However, while sometimes I’m the most positive guy on earth, the human race put me through a lot of cynicism as well. Therefore, I am asking myself; is HR department is trying to find ways to motivate employees, or are they trying to manipulate them in order to get what they want from them?
If I take the Primerica example, I would say that they tend to manipulate the information in order to motivate people. They use data and put them into their best shape. On the other side, I am wondering if it is not always the case with every company. Can HR be that evil?
I don’t know if they are the root of all evil, but their bureaucracy certainly is! While everybody accepted to sign on my MBA program (my ex-boss, his boss and the VP), HR bureaucracy decided otherwise. Even though I just received their notice, I am convinced it is only a technical problem and it will be solved shortly. However, if they would have though about self motivation of their employees for a quick seconds, they would probably have realize that refusing an MBA program, once started, could be devastating for an employee.
Did they think one second before sending the notice? Not a nanosecond. Why? Because there is no implication on their hand! One of my teachers always says: “where there is no implication of an employee, there is no service”. Thank you.
image source : The Regional Economist
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