• authored by sleK
  • published Tue, Oct 8, 2002

Weekly Review: Men Who Sleep With Dogs

Thousands of people make their living as human resources practitioners. In any large company, you'll find them piled up high and deep: Human resources managers, coordinators, recruiters, analysts, trainers, evaluators, administrators, strategists, there's a title for everybody. Their role is to develop and execute strategies that will help the company derive competitive advantage through its people - hiring (recruitment), training (staff development), keeping them around (retention), rewarding them (compensation), motivating them and getting more work out of them. The employee relations programs they administer are their strategies and these exist because at the top of the corporate pyramid, there is an ingrained belief that people make your business profitable.

Although the motives behind these programs and the whole human resources management thing have profit rather than not people at heart, the proliferation of these programs and the extent to which the human relations philosophy of management is entrenched in the business community, are an acknowledgement that people and how they are engaged and treated impacts on the success of a business. If they didn't, corporations wouldn't be pouring millions into their human resources schemes and the legions of experts who are retained to make them happen. Business leaders just aren't that stupid when it comes to making a buck or saving a buck.

Now let's be clear: We are not making a pitch for the human relations school or the human resources management. Our point in this week's rant is that backroom dealing - of the kind that we've had in large sloppy buckets this past week - (here and here) - is not only bad for unions and workers, it's bad for business. Any business that even nominally espouses the human relations philosophy of management (and most of them do and they spend gobs of money on it), is blowing smoke up its own ass when it allows, for whatever reason, its labour relations experts to engage in sleazy dealing with union representatives.

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