The Real “Human Resources”
The majority of organizations today have a human resources department [HR], but what does “human resources” mean? Many employees’ interpretation of an HR department is associated with compensation/benefits, recruitment, training/development, and labor relations. Yet, the human resources approach, “… holds that open communication between managers and employees ensures creativity, adaptability to change, and satisfaction of the individual’s needs and motivations,” (Eisenberg, Goodall, & Trethewey, 2010, p. 89). The HR department gained momentum in the 1960s and 70s due to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the women’s movement of the 1970s.
My experience working in a corporation is the complete opposite of the human resources approach. I am most familiar working in a bureaucracy which follows Douglas McGregor’s Theory X style of management, “…most people must be coerced, controlled, directed, [or] threatened with punishment to get them to put forth adequate effort towards the achievement of organizational objectives,” (Eisenberg, et. al., 2010, p. 84). For instance, I was required to obtain the Series 7 license at the institution in which I previously worked. If I didn’t pass, I would’ve been placed on unpaid administrative leave for 60 days, and eventually terminated [punishment], so I resigned after failing the exam. Initially, the HR department would assist in finding another role within the company if placed on unpaid leave; however, the Charlotte location lacked career growth/opportunities. Because of my resignation HR declined helping me look for another position. Today, in my opinion, the human resources department is a designated department to answer employees’ questions on policies, benefits, and compensation.
Eisenberg, E. M., Goodall, H. L., Jr., & Trethewey, A. (2010). Organizational Communication Balancing Creativity and Constraint (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford
Lorre, C. and Prady, B. (Writers) and Cendrowski, M. (Director). (January 3, 2013). The Egg Salad Equivalency. Belyeu, F. O. (Producer). The Big Bang Theory (Season 6, Episode 12). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ttj5Op9A1g
PeopleMattersOnline. (2013 October 22). An animated timeline of the history of HR. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/RpHX03q_3UI