Pet Peeves

I begin this blog with writing about my pet peeves about HR/ Talent whatever you want to call it.

1.       Anyone can do HR: I was once told by a Vice President HR that “HR is intuitive and its common sense”. He implied that HR does not require specialized skills. To set the context of the above statement. This young HR VP I mention had moved from VP of business excellence team to VP HR for India. It was a huge move from managing a team of randomly collected orphan teams( not putting this phrase into context) to managing end to end HR for the region. I asked him why he moved and to that he answered because he was asked if he was interested in the role and because HR is about common sense, he thought he could do it without previous experience or qualification and with knowledge that everyone else has of HR (=outside perspective). He could’ve simply said that he got a new role and it was opportunity to explore a new area. And to give him some credit he mentioned he had managed some HR business partners in the past. What disappointed me was that as someone who heads HR function, he did not respect it. He did not think it was necessary to be qualified HR professional.

2.       It’s “Talent Management” and not “Human Resources”: Time and again I come across these HR folks, especially the young ones, who lay emphasis on terminology. I was one of them too. It is more than terminology. While I do feel terminology matters in creating perception, it is useless unless we change our view. And this view hasn’t changed much, at least not in India. Only marginaly better in other geographies I have worked with.

3.       False modesty: I don’t get the concept of false modesty. Trying to underplay yourself to fish for compliments or for others to hail you is as bad as boasting and talking about yourself. Just don’t talk! A friend told me this conversation with her and her husband. They went traveling and she related an architectural feature with Spanish architecture, where she had been before. Her hubby cut her saying it sounds like she’s showing off that she has been to Spain.  Well, that happens sometimes and her husband said that if she observed doesn’t mean she always has to share her observation, especially in a situation where her intent is likely to be misinterpreted. The point is to represent yourself appropriately, don’t overdo your importance and don’t underplay yourself either.  It is simple to be secure, know yourself and represent yourself as you are and not another image of you. Be authentic!

4.       Demeaning work: This follows from the above point. HR does a specialized work, at least some of us do. HR is NOT limited to administrative work. Don’t make it such and don’t talk about it such. HR professionals themselves demean their profession, constantly undermine it or misrepresent it. Also, when you have a policy like mandatory training, believe in it and know its value. Don’t go about saying, “life is never always easy, you just have to do things”. There is  a reason behind defining mandatory training hours and many other such things. If you don’t what this reason is, ask!

5.       We are empowering you: Empowerment is one of the most casually used terms in corporates these days. It is in many cases synonymous to “I’m washing my hands off you”, “You deal with this shit”, “If you goof up, it’s your a** on line”. In short it has lost its meaning. Empowerment is NOT the opposite of micro management. It is about trust and support.

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