The problem with HR?
This is the last in our series of comparing Sun Tzu’s Art of War to the modern business environment.
Human resources is one of those weird animals that has many heads but no body. It presents itself with very noble ideas and very rarely meets any of them. It is supposed to be provide support to staff to encourage retention and empower them with vision to meet the organizations objectives. Instead it drowns under EU legislation, spends most of its time defending unfair dismissal cases and it’s main purpose seems to be to prevent phone calls getting through to the boss. It is befixed management speak and psychological manipulation.
My dad was a hospital manager and there was no HR department, just Personnel. The held basic information yet no problem with retention as in those days a job was for life. These days which have much more specialist requirements, just think how much experience walks out that door when a staff member leaves? (Average cost to replace staff from recruitment, loss of expertise and productivity till the new bod comes up to speed is about 12k).
What does Sun Tzu Art of War say about treatment of staff?
With all that in mind lets see how the “Art of War” deals with treatment of the soldiery.
- “Soldiers must be treated in the first instance with humanity, but kept under control with iron discipline. That is a certain road to victory”. With the emphasis on management to use the latest phsychological decoy to manipulate shows a complete lack of respect for staff at any level. In nearly all organizations there is an emphasis now on staff autonomy in the name of “not micro managing” which leads to a bunch of headless chickens thinking that busy means productive.
- “When a general is weak and without authority, when his orders are not clear and distinct; when there are no fixed duties assigned to officers and men, and ranks are formed in slobonly haphazard manner the result is utter disorganisation.”How many organizations have clearly defined job descriptions and a vision that is installed into staff at induction? Some do but a lot don’t. Management seem unwilling or unable to inspire and enthuse staff to fulfill mission objectives.
- “there maybe advantage from defeating the enemy, they must have their reward ” there’s the bonus, to share success with loyal employees to keep them in your service. This does not mean just the sales reps but all the back office functions that keep the whole enterprise going. There has to be an equal sharing of the rewards of effort not just feeding the stars. The current gap between the senior executive and the rank and file shows how much the current management clique have due contempt for those below them.
More than the sum of its parts.
One thing that comes from applying the principles of “Art of War” to staff management is the sheer simplicity of vision and to treat those beneath your rank with respect and dignity. No general can win a battle without an army behind them.
If you can afford £2.00 and a few hour of your time its well worth the read and I have embedded a link below:
About the author:
Malcolm Ford has worked at IT Enterprise Business Solutions as a Business Systems Analyst for over 8 years. Specialising in implementing ERP software solutions he has seen his fair share of business cock ups in his time.