James Mayes

Guest blog: Collateral Damage in HR

In Guest post, Human Resources, Personal Development, Recruitment on May 19, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I’ve had numerous Twitter conversations with CT Trivella over the past year – a mix of professional conversation and banter – and I’ve grown to really appreciate the way she develops an idea. With that in mind, I offered her a guest post slot here and was delighted when she accepted. There’s a full bio at the end of the post, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the read!

Some very disturbing situations have arisen lately that have made me stop and take pause. I am seeing an inordinate number of human resources pals, along with business acquaintances leaving their human resource positions. The most disturbing fact about these vacancies is that many of them have left their jobs without securing another position. Given the current economic situation existing in the world today, I find this alarming. At first glance I wondered what was so wrong with their jobs that they felt they had to leave without having another job lined up and with only a weak plan B in the works. After speaking with them, it became quite evident that they, like many other employed people, are tired of being beaten up and overwhelmed by the never-ending bureaucratic tape, lack of support and daunting demands to satisfy everyone from all directions around them. They actually speak like people who have had the weight of the world removed from their shoulders, not like people facing the stress of an upcoming and exhaustive job search.

Now having said all of this, I want to come clean. I am one of the people who pointed a finger at HR folks (specifically the recruiters) in an article published on the site ERE.net in 2010. I wrote about how every job candidate deserves respect and open communication. What I was directly referring to in that article is how every job candidate, regardless of their candidacy, should be contacted on the state of their application and be treated with respect and courtesy. For the record, I am not back-peddling on what I said in that article, but it has now become crystal clear to me that my imploring words only looked at one side of the equation: the job seekers viewpoint. [For reasons that could within themselves be a post, I won’t go into how (many) HR departments are still not getting the respect they should be from the executive leadership suite.]

So where does this leave HR in our current work world? To me it seems in a position of disadvantage. If companies tie HR’s “hands’ and any move forward is quickly squashed due to lack of understanding, interest, money, disrespect for the human resources function, or whatever the reason should be, why have an HR department within the organization? Everyone wants to feel that his/her contributions are propelling the company forward and making a positive impact on the culture, bottom line, morale, brand, etc.; this includes the people who work in the human resources department.

Thinking about these unemployed HR people I personally know and why they have chosen to leave their former company without another job in-hand saddens me. I know that each and every one of these people worked hard and smart trying to elevate the HR function within their organizations. The encouraging thing is that these folks are very good at what they do in their respective HR role so I know they will resurface at another organization… but when. Jobs in human resources are no more abundant than in any other profession. I’ve been told that certain makers are in place that will raise their radar and definitely come into focus as these people interview with their next potential employer. What I do know is this, these are HR professionals the business world cannot and should not be without.

About my guest:

Cyndy began her career in Human Resource Communications as an Employment Branding Specialist and Recruitment and Retention Strategist on Madison Avenue in New York City over 14 years ago. Prior to that, she worked in corporate human resources as a training and development coordinator. In addition, Cyndy has multiple years of media planning and account strategy experience at a management level from both the media and agency sides. She has managed/manages many client accounts ranging from Fortune 100 to small start-ups. She holds a BA in psychology and mass communications from Westfield State University in Massachusetts.

  1. Would you say there are more HR agencies propping up than before?

    Surely someone from an in house position would be better suited working for an agency, as they would have the level of support from their colleagues than they would in house.

  2. Superb post and one that many HR professionals can identify with – thank you for such a candid insight.

    I recently left my position as HR & Training Manager without another position to go to. Many points Cyndy has highlighted contributed to my decision and it is comforting knowing other HR professionals have similar experiences. Surprisingly, once I had taken the decision, peace and calm decended. A certain sadness existed, as human resources and training has been a passion for over 20+ years.

    I have now taken an absolute leap of faith in setting up a new, innovative approach towards human resources and training – one that, once launched, will certainly stimulate debate.

  3. Great post! HR divisions don’t seem to be getting the respect they deserve unfortunately. They are truly valuable to the success of an entire firm.

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