Human Resources Doesn't Represent Humans

Earlier this week Bernard Marr posted Why We No Longer Need HR Departments on LinkedIn. He advocates for dividing HR Departments into two divisions: People Analytics and People Support. This proposition has a pleasant sound to it. One division represents the corporate interests and the other is there to keep employees happy.

Marr’s recommendation comes from a good place. However, that place is imaginary. All aspects of HR exist to minimize employer liabilities. This is not to say that companies don’t have an incentive to maintain a happy workforce. Happy employees are far less likely to sue than unhappy employees.

Marr’s mistake is promulgating the idea that any aspect HR exists for the benefit of employees. Employees can end up in precarious situations believing that HR is there for their benefit. HR is a tool that can, in some situations, be used to benefit an employee. But a tool can only be manipulated when you understand its primary purpose.