Human Resources. That is a cold term. HR departments have engaged in rebranding since the dawn of time to drop this descriptor. Tom Peters tweeted once that he is not a resource. I love me some TP, but I disagree with this. People are a resource. We are all working and getting something in return for that work. My core belief is that we are all essentially self-employed. We choose to work and the company chooses to pay us. Your employer is not a charity (even if it is a charity); they were not established for the sole purpose of providing you with an income. They are seeking to fulfill a need – be it to create a product or provide a service with the result of generating a profit or providing a benefit to society. If you work for an entity (even if that entity is your own business) you are a resource to that entity to help it achieve that goal. Don’t believe me? Go to your boss and tell them you are not a resource for the company’s use, and from this moment forward you are electing to only perform tasks that align with your goals, which may or may not align with the company’s. However, you will expect to continue to receive your pay on its regular intervals.
Feel free to let me know how that conversation goes.
Good Human Resources people know this. They know that their objective is to ensure that those Resources they are responsible for, those Resources which are of the human variety, can function at the top of their game. It is our responsibility to ensure that the organization acquires the best resources out there, within the constraints of the organization’s budget, of course.
The problem is that we often get the first half of that wrong. We are down with the Resources part, but we tend to overlook the Human piece (or we misspell it, making it Humane Resources). It is a two-way street and the Human piece is the part that keeps the Resource functioning. Too often we look at efficiencies, and overlook the fact that we are dealing with people. Just like you have to set time and money aside to maintain mechanical resources, you have to set time aside to maintain your human resources.
Want to get the most out of your human resources? Take time to keep them maintained. Talk to them and understand what they are needing. They are a resource, but not machines.