HR: Waste of Time or Plague on Modern Business?

I was watching Miami:CSI earlier this week (it just wouldn’t be Monday w/o Caruso quipping bad one-liners and striking a profile pose), and it was an episode dealing with IAD – the scourge of many a good cop show. Know about IAD; all the cops hate it, good cops as well as bad ones. IAD never really does anything useful, it just gets in the way, sucks resources that could be much better used somewhere else, and it harasses honest folk to no end. Which made me think about Human Resources.

I have been in business for a quarter-century, and while I have great respect for administrators who handle records, enforce policy, and can point out the most intricate points of the law on employment matters, especially as I have done a lot of such work myself, as a unit I can find no justification for the existence of a Human Resource department. They do not hire anyone, they do not develop employees, they do not fire or discipline anyone. They do not produce revenue, they do not recognize achievements of an employee or group, they do not develop solutions for problems and constraints. What’s worse, they uniformly hinder those who actually do those things. The real business people do that. Asking around, I have never found any experienced businessperson who thinks an HR department makes his company more effective, or a better place to work.

How about you? What’s your HR experience?

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