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How did these HR Drones achieve their power?

Why does HR control the workplace?  Is it really intelligent to allow HR to dictate workplace methods, hiring?

I work for large multinational company.  Our HR department here does the first wave interviews.  They tell us when we have to arrive at work.  They tell us when we can leave.  They tell us how to work.  They dictate and choose the work environment and methodolgies.

They have never read things like Peopleware.  They don't read these things.  They have no reason to read these things.  They don't want to improve.  They think they know better just "because".  They are truly ignorant.

I don't blame them.  I mean power is fun and nice and if I were given the chance I'd want control, too.

But, they are paid a fraction of what other people in the organization make and yet they decide how those higher-paid workers should work.  They really think they are having a postive impact on productivity.

What high-paid executive came up with this ~brilliant~ plan to have the people earning $30,000 a year control (and in a broader sense of the word - manage) the people earning 80,000-120,000?  It is ludricrous!!!!

Why does this practice continue?


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Why do you think that your higher salary conveys right of power?  In fact, why does salary rate have any place in this discussion at all?

muppet from forums.madebymonkeys.net
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Our HR "lady" used to be a flight attendent until 5 years ago.

Yet, she thinks she knows what's best for managing Software Engineers with Masters and Doctorates creating software applications.

If I were president of the company I would make sure the HR people knew their place.

Our HR "lady" also dictates a strict 9am - 6pm atmosphere (not working in the states).  All the engineers stay later.  She leaves at 6:01.  Yet if you are 2 minutes late (i.e., 9:02am), it is documented.  Where does this logic spring from?  Is there something missing in my brain?

Anonymous
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

What makes you think that the HR people get paid less than you do?

Really, you might be surprised - I sure was when I found out how much some of the HR folks at a previous employer were making.

-Mark

Mark Bessey
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Muppet,

I guess you don't agree with Peopleware?  You think it's better to treat the Engineers as cattle and commodoties?

Don't you think it's better if each department tries to do their job to the best of their abilities and tries to improve?

Wouldn't you agree that the HR Department of a Engineering Firm could improve by reading Peopleware?

Anonymous
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Well, I've never read Peopleware, and I'm not contending that engineers should be treated like cattle.  I just object to the manner in which this was presented.  "These people make less than I do, how DARE they dictate my schedule."  Rather than, more appropriately "These people do not understand the nuances of my profession and therefore should not have governance over it."

muppet from forums.madebymonkeys.net
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Muppet Writes:
"These people do not understand the nuances of my profession and therefore should not have governance over it."

Exactly!!

When was the last time you thought you should tell HR what time to arrive each morning or tell a sales guy how to hold a meeting or tell a Finance guy how to do the books.  Or, the CEO what kind of chair to sit in.

Aren't those people hired because they are more skilled at doing what they do than someone from another department would be?

HR is hired to be Human Resources.  Do they go to seminars and read trade journals and hear the newest techniques for bulding team spirit, enhancing productivity, and keeping workers happy?  Or, is HR just for the prevention of lawsuits?

I am merely asking - I really don't know.  Enlighten me please.

Why are they giving interviews and handling resumes when they admittedly don't know about the engineering?

Sorry, to bring salary into it.  I was merely trying to point out that people making more money are usually thought of as more important / skilled to the organization in that area.  So why do people who are not as important dictate over those that are more important?

If HR is the most skilled at doing what they do, is learning alternate/better HR methods not in their job description?


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

It's a business culture thing.

For a few shining years in the mid to late 1990s, programmers and other technologists actually had greater power in the supply/demand scheme of things than companies did.

This was a historical aberration. Technology workers, even degreed and highly experienced ones, are historically regarded as a higher maintenance, non unionized version of the common production worker. All attitudes and policies that are set by HR are dictated by business ownership and flow right down the chain of command.

If you ever choose to deal with headhunters or contract agencies, you will find that they agressively project the "we are the gatekeeper, you are some stupid piece of sh*t that we must control" mindset. Agency recruiters consider themselves the enforcers and projectors of "commoditizing influence" for their fiduciaries, their client companies, and they see to it that you act the part of the good little slave and that you do not develop too large and inconvenient a sense of self esteem.

If engineers and programmers weren't such a flagrant class of head-in-the-sand geek p*ssies, things would not be this way. We are all treated pretty much the same as the meekest and most subservient, least street smart geek chooses to allow himself to be treated.

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Our HR (large conglomerate) are told what to do by the CEO and other executives. They're just the vessel that communicates it.

Bob
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The answer is in the name, and I am only half-joking. You
are the one continuing to call them "HR". Which means that
their purpose is "Human Resources" -- like you. You are
a "human resource", like a printer is some other kind of
resource, and a printer cartridge is yet another, and
a garbage bag is still another. It's  unclear which one of
those is more expendable/interchangeable. :)

I am not suggesting any answers, aside from this: look
at yourself. Why do you question "HR drones"' power,
but not other people's (Bill Gates, cops, etc., I dunno,
the list can go on: creditors, your condo trustees,
FCC, etc., etc.) In all these cases, it's OK to whine, but
it's easier to get what you want by doing something about
it and THEN telling people to get behind your cause.

As it is, it makes as much sense as complaining about mosquito bites. Yeah, people will commisserate. But
you still will insist on going into a swampy area without
a spray in a humid warm night (shall I make the
silly analogy more drawn out? :) and then complain
that the mosquitoes were wrong to bite you. Yeah,
they were. Bastards. They should have no right. Ok.
See ya.

DEBEDb
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

You ask how did the drones get their power? The story is long and complex. Originally. the cyborgs were created to serve man. It was in the drone rebellion of 2025 that things got out of hand... but now a band of liberators seek to overthrow the drones and their robotic grasp of our lives. We are currently attempting to hack into the control frequencies of the cyborg leader, Al Robogore.

Dennis Atkins
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I've worked for several large multinationals, and I've never seen an HR department with the power to set work hours or other such policy decisions.  I've seen HR _announce_ these policies, but I know for a fact that they were set by upper management.

Yet another anon
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Dennis - you mean  Al Gore, whose true last name, Ithm, is unknown to the general public?

DEBEDb
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Exactly - what could be more robotic than an Algorithm. It is the essense of mechanization. Fight the algorithms! Support teh rebel leader, the honorable Hur Istic.

Dennis Atkins
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Hey!

Happy Bastille Day everyone!!

Dennis Atkins
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Nobody wants to fire someone.

Nobody wants to be directly responsible for any decision, including hiring.

Basically, they're outsourcing their people management.

www.MarkTAW.com
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Dennis - Re bastille day -- you just had to go ahead and remind me that last year this time I was working in Paris... :(((

DEBEDb
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

WHy do unemployed or people that hate their jobs tag all other job holders drones?

.net, the equivalent of MS Bob.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

in the case of HR, often "drone" is accurate for describing the sort of folks who work there.  Often politically correct to a fault hen-like women who voted for Bush.  I have conducted extensive informal surveys to corroborate this.

muppet from madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, July 14, 2004


(Warning: In bad cultures ...)

If you work in HR, and you make the tough decisions, you introduce liability and risk into the company -- you could get your company sued or get personally fired.

If you just do what your told like a drone and enforce policies that don't make sense just because they are policies, you could have a much easier and better career.

In other words, the people in HR are just doing what's in there best interest, given the system.  Your problem is with the system, thus it is with culture, thus it is probably really with Sr. Management.

Let me ask:  Do you ever see senior management in a real way?  (CXO?)  If no, then it's possible you are just mad at the messanger, that is doing exactly what the poster above said:  Abstracting Senior Management from the tough decisions they don't want to make.

You have four options:

1) Suck it up.

2) Find a healthier company (Good luck.  All companies have problems.  Happy employement is about trading problems you can't live with for ones that you can).

3) Found your own company.

4) Build a nest-egg fast and retire early. :-)


You can use stragey 4 along with 1 or 2. Tt usually doesn't work with strategey 3 until you have a few years of independent work and security.

Good luck!

www.xndev.com (Formerly Matt H.)
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Bob got it right. The HR dept is simply a tool of management.

What they do to gain power is find some information in an HR trade journal saying this or that policy will save the company money or make it more efficient or avoid legal entanglments if applied across the board.

Then they pitch it to upper management. They couch their arguments in management buzzwords and say that if these ideas are implemented all will be wonderful.

The managers can slough off responsibilities simply by pointing to the policy book. It's a way of avoiding making judgemental decisions related to people problems. Lazy management over the long term allows these boneheads to ursurp many of their responsibilites and at some point the HR folks become dictatorial even to them.

There was a rather famous case of a corporate raider back in the 80s who bought out a company (something like Avis rent-a-car) and immediatley fired all HR people. It worked well for a while.

old_timer
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Why does HR have so much power?

They actually don't...just that some of us think that anyone who knows how much money we make automatically has some kind of magical power on us. 

Like they say...no man is hero to his butler...no person is hero to HR because they have seen it all....one HR person in my old company told me that he lost all respect for a "executive" when she saw that  that he was charging Aspirin on the company's tab.

Code Monkey
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

HR doesn't normally have the power to fix work hours.

It is often given the job by management of enforcing it.

If you want flexitime get your line manager on it. HR aren't going to implement changes nobody asked for.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, July 15, 2004

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