Saturday, September 25, 2010

HR Terms That Don't Wear Well

First, let's address the common use of the title, "Human Resources."

It sounds like something from a Soviet Five Year Plan. ["Comrade Beria wants to talk with the human resources who failed to show sufficient vigor during the harvest."]

And that was supposed to be an improvement on "Personnel?" I liked the simplicity of "Personnel." Besides, I'd rather be a person than a resource.

"Human Capital" is even worse than Human Resources. You are no longer a resource. You're now sort of like a coin. Yeah, you're a dime or a quarter, but hey, that's better than a penny.

"Talent Management" has echoes of Hollywood. [And yes, there are people in the broadcasting and film industries who refer to some individuals as "The talent." Cringe.] It also seems a tad condescending. And if our talent is so darned talented, why does it need to be managed? Why not just inflate it to "Brilliance Management?"

I'm open to suggestions. If you have a term that's better than "Personnel," let me know.


Larry Sheldon said...

I always though "Employment" had a nice ring to it, particularly since it meant the managing and supervising of people was done by the bosses, at the work site.

Jeff said...

Actually, I like "Advocate". Which is the true role of "human resources".

I think that works both from a company and employee perspective...

- Jeff

Sam said...

"Management Support" since I think "HR" (for want of a better term) shouldn't be a law unto themselves, rather they should be a support service for the company as a whole, assisting management in personnel relations.

Paul Williams said...

My father was part of Personnel when it was Personnel, and later a leader in Human Resources. He always talked about being in "Compensation & Benefits" -- surely an important facet for most.

I like descriptive names. I would definitely be in favor of "Hiring & Compensation" as a descriptive title.

I do kind of wish that HR would back a little further out of the technical hiring part -- it sometimes becomes tedious to pass through some HR hack's technical filter

I.e. While I have 10 years experience with SQL databases, I have only 2 years experience with Oracle, so I don't qualify -- the hiring manager specified 3-5 years experience with Oracle.

Anonymous said...

"People Control" is really what it's about.

TwistedByKnaves said...


That should be enough.