Friday, March 30

HR could do with a spot of diversity

I have fulminated enough about HR before. Not impressed at all. Do a google search on “why I hate HR” and you will get 30.5 million hits (not that it says anything, lol, but the number is an indication of how popular this topic is). But this excellent article tells you some excellent reasons why every manager grumbles about them. I summarise their points:

1. HR people aren't the sharpest tacks in the box.

2. HR pursues efficiency in lieu of value

3. HR isn't working for you.

4. The corner office doesn't get HR (and vice versa).

And another article by the same authors in HBR. So what can HR do? Here’s another great article on what they CAN do. You know something? I would love to have somebody come to me and say, this is how I think I can help you make your team into a high performance team. This is your business, this is your staff, this is your competition, your strategy, your competition and by doing this, this, and that, you will have a high performance team. It will cost you this and this is by this time that you can have it and this is how you can maintain it going forward.

But why am I wittering on about HR now? Here’s why. What’s the problem?

Résumés in the U.S. and UK rarely include photos, so it might be tempting to think that you can gain an edge by including a picture of yourself the next time you apply for a job. You'd certainly stand out from the crowd, and with personal boundaries getting fuzzier and everyone's pictures on Facebook anyway, what's the harm of showing an employer what you look like?The truth is, you could be hurting your chances as well as contributing to a bigger problem: allowing bias to creep into companies' hiring processes.

What? why?

Human resources departments, in the West at least, are staffed predominantly by women, many of whom are young and single. In a study of responses to CV photos, Ze'ev Shtudiner of Ariel University Center and I found a strong bias among these screeners against attractive women. (The study was conducted in Israel, where CV pictures are optional.)

Besides the Zionist angle (what? you don't think there is a Zionist angle? You Zionist!), seems like this is a problem with inverse diversity. Thinking about it, whenever I have walked into an HR department, the gender difference is amazing, whether I walked in from the trading, risk management, finance, technology or sales side, there were much more ladies in HR than in any other department (reception?). So what does the expert say? Well, to balance the diversity in HR. I found it rather ironic but interesting.

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