Too much “Resources”, not enough “Human”


There’s many great blogs and articles out there at the moment about change and real people. I thought I’d add my two pennies worth.

Why all the talk about change? Because it’s become so prolific that as a concept it’s hardly separable from life in general. And there’s been growing recognition that people are “real” and treating them as such actually gets the best out of them. Now if we could only marry these two concepts together it would be magical.

There are many examples of where HR has got it wrong. The fast paced current environment has become the in-vogue excuse for a slapdash, seat of the pants approach that any true professional should be ashamed of. The job-for-life may no longer exist but a job is still a big part of somebody’s life.

Just because change is more constant, it doesn’t make it easier to cope with. People are still people. Unfortunately in these badly handled situations the focus is far too much on “resources” and not on the “human”. Sweeping these issues under the carpet just hides the shambles that must be cleaned up later.

People have varying abilities to cope with change. Lacking coping skills should not be viewed as a weakness on the part of the employee. In fact it is a weakness of the organisation in failing to provide individual meaning in relation to the change.

Treating someone poorly because they’re about to walk out the door (or be forced to) is a misnomer. I have one word of warning for that behaviour. Reputation. These people might never be seen again, but people talk – verbally and on social networks. It not only reflects badly on the company but on the executing managers as well.

Planned change initiatives always have an aim, often to cut costs, improve efficiency or deliver new services. Handled incorrectly there can be many unplanned results such as stress, sickness and under performance. Slash and burn tactics never work, particularly if the organisation is continuing. It poisons the culture for those left behind. If you expect the change initiative to change people, then expect to fail.

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