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The Hidden Face Of Human Resources

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 [1] are showing me the hidden (read ugly) face of the Human Resources.


 two faces [2]


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 [3] 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 [1] (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.


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image source : The Regional Economist [5]

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7 Comments (Open | Close)

7 Comments To "The Hidden Face Of Human Resources"

#1 Comment By Customers Revenge On March 3, 2008 @ 1:38 pm

HR is usually a weak department as they don’t generate any profits. You assume that HR sent you a rejection because they are stupid and lazy and didn’t think for a nanosecond, but I’ll bet it’s because the company you work for has created the situation in which HR has to reject your claim or, at the very least, hire substandard HR people.

It’s the same thing as banks. You want me to give the bank credit for being a profit-seeking business and put the blame for poor service on the people, hence you advise to look for a “good banker”. I think the bank fills it’s ranks with the cheapest and most poorly trained people it can find because it doesn’t consider service to me to be important.

Your company may not consider HR important enough to give resources to. Or they may give the HR department marching orders that appear different than what you think they should be.

It’s the same in my company.

#2 Comment By nancy (aka money coach) On March 4, 2008 @ 12:11 am

ouch! what a horrible thing for you, to get a notice x-nay-ing your MBA program. I hope it gets sorted out really quickly.

@customers revenge – banks are banks; credit unions … at least in theory (which is Something, anyway) put service to the member on the table. I work part time for a hybrid – Citizens Bank of Canada, a bank, but owned by a credit union. I like to think I’m pretty smart and well trained, and think I’m in reasonably good company (with some notable exceptions) with my fellow staff, so hope we can do a bit better than your experience has been. For some fun, check out bankerspank.com

#3 Comment By The Financial Blogger On March 4, 2008 @ 7:43 am

I will keep being positive and hoping that you are wrong 😉 Why would they are offering MBA programs if it’s to decline them? Nonetheless, as Nancy said, banks are banks 😉

#4 Comment By Customers Revenge On March 4, 2008 @ 11:30 am

My company has the very same. They will pay for your MBA or Accounting designation. I have a friend who is taking a CMA, but he is not given flexibility in his work arrangements. CMA has some critical crunch periods, for which he needs to study nearly full time, but he gets no relief. He is willing to take vacation time for days off, but there is no help to arrange his work sched. He was even removed from his position “disgracefully” because he was burning out. HR, in my opinion, should help. It lacks sense for the company, if they are paying many thousands to educate someone, to offer him a little flexibility and disgrace him for trying to take such a high level of training. It’s very unmotivating and they have pretty much guaranteed that he will leave the company once he gets his designation.

Why don’t you bring it up in one of your MBA classes? It’s a good “Organization analysis” topic to find out how broken companies can have people running in different directions under opposing orders. I’m sure you’ll find that this is true in many organizations. As well, you’ll probably get different views from HR people. Finance people talking amongs themselves cannot know what HR people are thinking! You’ll have some interesting revelations.

I’ve never tried a credit union Nancy; maybe I should.

#5 Comment By The Financial Blogger On March 4, 2008 @ 9:59 pm

CR; that’s a hell of a good idea! I have a class this weekend actually!


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