Where you at?
I’d like to pose a question to the HR practitioners and those that have worked in or with HR. Where are you? No I haven’t been sniffing the marker pens again, I mean physically….where is HR?
I was talking with someone the other day, and after getting through the inevitable “…no being in HR doesn’t mean I have to like people, in fact I think it inhibits your ability if you like people too much, just look at Tiger Woods….” part of the conversation and explaining what I did, she replied, “so that is why they always hide you away in some dingy corner”.
Sadly, there is more than a grain of truth in this. When I think about my previous organisations, with the exception of one, we have always been hidden away like the alcoholic grandma with Tourette’s at the family christening. When I arrived at my current organisation, I found I was on the oddball floor with all the parts of the organisation that didn’t seem to fit anywhere else….the organisational equivalent of Glee but without the hidden talent.
And before anyone starts to talk about status envy, let me be clear: where you sit in an organisation does matter. Not just because of status, but because of accessibility. If you think about going to a train station and the people are behind what feels like bullet proof glass and you can’t hear them or talk to them properly or see them. How do you feel about that?
One of the sad things is that quite often HR people are responsible for this, with proclamations about confidentiality blah, blah, blah. Because other areas of the business don’t have to deal with confidential information? When I enquired whether I could move my team from its current location to somewhere more open and accessible I was told that my predecessor had actually argued for the barricades that surround us to be erected and they cost a lot of money…….
When I talk to other HR pros about this, the number of times people tell me that they too sit in unusual or hidden places. So what is going on? Is this HR again lacking in confidence and wanting to hide? Is this organisations not rating their departments and putting them in dark corners? Or is this a figment of my imagination forced by the need to fill the electronic equivalent of column inches?
Come out of the shadows and give me your thoughts?