Bring The Human Back In ‘Human’ Resources.

Written by Matt Finkelstein and Jim Finkelstein

When you ask yourself or others why you work, does the answer not stare back at you with a blank smile? You smile because you know you have to work. But the smile is blank because you have no idea why you have to. Do you have to work to survive? Or do you work because it’s enjoyable and meaningful?

The world of work is in a state of transition. The value of work has become so utilitarian – making money to pay for bills – that we have taken all meaning out of it.

It is now facing a new direction. The financial crises beginning in 2006 stimulated changes across the board for work and life. What has been brought to a clear forefront is the nature of economics, work and business as usual. Corporate scandals, corruption, greed, housing crises, bailouts and bonuses have all become acronyms, household words and/or fodder for late night talk show hosts to most working adults. Employees – people – have become disposable. Why have we let this happen? And, more importantly, why do we let this continue to happen?

It all has to do with the way we view the world, our place in it, and the values that we share with each other. Most organizations have operated under a mechanistic mindset for the better part of the century, chugging and churning away towards an idealized notion of progress. Contemporary Human Resource circles claim to focus on both the human and the resource, however these claims are just not true. For too long a time, they have focused on the resource side, using the same mechanistic language and processes to refer to their employees. They view their employees as “capital to be invested in” or “resources to be utilized” (aka depleted). This mechanistic/industrial model has forced us to abandon fundamental values about how we treat other humans.

Losing sight of these values is destroying our economy and culture. Job rates are lower than ever and job satisfaction is down too, not just as the result of a failing economy. Population pressures, pollution, and stress are now normal facets of our existence. The American population actually reached its peak happiness in the 1950s and has steadily declined since. An ultimate low point has been undoubtedly reached with the current recession.

What we need is a new paradigm to the way we view work – one that we are all calling for in our hearts and souls. We have placed enough attention on the resources side and need to bring back the human in HR. This will bring about a more engaged workforce, further stimulating the economy and our quality of life.  Read the full article at here.


Posted on May 24, 2012, in HR Management & Leadership.. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Frank Nimesheim

    Jim, this is one of your best posts ever published. it is a shame what has happened to HR in many companies, especially in the last 5 years. Keep up the good work.

  1. Pingback: Bring The Human Back In 'Human' Resources. « « Human Resources 123

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