HR oversees a system with rules that they don’t control and might not even agree with but can’t change, and they rarely see people at their best. For the past 40 years, we’ve been pumping money into human resources and we are not getting the ROI we deserve.
For all the time, money, and attention that we’ve invested over the past four decades, compensation programs are still biased. Equal opportunity in most organizations is a joke. We haven’t addressed racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, ableism, a bias against veterans in our workforce. In fact, we haven’t even trained people to fake it. We can’t get them to fake it and be decent people. On top of that, for all the money and academic rigor around leadership and excellence, we still have corporate org charts that resemble family trees, toxic family trees, with the dad on top and everybody else falling in line underneath.
If you work on a people team that expects you to police the workforce, you need to quit. Money isn’t the only form of currency, time and attention and your time and attention are valuable. You can defund HR by leaving and getting a job elsewhere that could be at a company with a great HR department. Make a plan, set a deadline if you can’t quit today, and get the hell out. Defunding Human Resources means that we defund the programs, the policies, the big ideas that can really turn it around and treat people of all shapes and sizes, all walks and backgrounds fairly and equitably. Isn’t that what this is all about? And when HR is finally defunded and rebuilt, I believe it will be the people who just enforced the status quo and followed orders who are going to be answering big questions about culpability and complicity.
Do you want your legacy to be that you had to pay a mortgage and you stayed in a company where somebody was mistreating women or people of color? Do you want your legacy to be that you turned a blind eye because you just couldn’t get enough proof that your executive leadership team was homophobic or transphobic? Do you want your legacy to be that you went to work every day? And you participated in a system that not only dehumanized workers but dehumanized you because you had credit card debt.
The future of work is here. For many, it was foisted upon you. But you can no longer ignore what’s happening in the world and in your corporations. People are asking questions about what side you’re on what you believe in what you’re going to do to make the world a better place going forward. And if you cling to the last vestiges of human resources, you’re not only going to miss an opportunity to change the world, but you’re going to miss an opportunity to be on the right side of history.
I’m talking about these topics—as well as how management science is not with HR, and how to thrive in the golden age of learning and technology—in my weekly newsletter. I’m also sharing a video to help you think about your week ahead. You can sign up here.