Go to a Human Resources conference or read HR blogs and it won't be long before you'll hear the HR tone.
It's a certain inflection that signals the employees are dumb nuisances who try the patience of the savvy and hip HR-types. It chuckles about rules and practices most management lawyers would regard as unfeeling and harsh. It echoes an arrogance that comes from God knows where.
I know many fine HR professionals who have managed to avoid the tone and who genuinely care about the employees. Most of them work in the public sector although it is not free of the tone.
I'm not sure what causes the tone. Its origins may be found in some profound personal frustration. Moreso than other professions, HR may contain an inordinate number of individuals who do not want to be in their jobs. Perhaps the tone is a sort of defense mechanism in a job that has many demands and little clout.
Only one thing is clear: The users of the HR tone are not happy people.