Comment on ‘HR was useless’

Whistlebloweraustralia recently commented on an article ‘HR was Useless’ on the Minding the Workplace site.  The Minding the Workplace site is hosted by Professor David Yamada Professor of Law and Director of the New Workplace Institute at Suffolk University in Boston USA.

On May 13, 2010 at 10:38 pm Not all said:

I currently work as a HR Advisor after stumbling into the role from Training and Development. I was as cynical of HR as the average Joe until I actually joined the club. I try to approach all situations objectively as we are constantly faced with “your word against mine” scenarios. I tend to support the notion that communication is the key and often HR becomes the scapegoat for Managements lack of communication deliberatly or not (this includes the supervisor/employee relationship). Why oh why do so man supervisors find a one on one catch up with their staff so hard to fathom???

Many also fail to understand that although HR aims to be a part of the ‘strategic’ team, HR is rarely involved in the decisions that impact employees, and even when HR is advocating (unbeknown to staff) for employee’s, Management will always do what they want to do. HR is a thankless job where people feel entitled to treat you with as little respect as possible, until they actually need you – thats when the sickly sweet attitude comes in.

Currently my organization is faced with a situation where a Manager is a typical workplace bully, HR would like nothing more than to make this person accountable yet the employees come to HR stating that information they provide is confidential and they do not want it revealed – yet, they want us to do something with nothing to go on? We have asked them as a group to come forward, document everything, state it on their supervisors performance appraisal yet nobody stated anything negative. HR can not seriously be expected to do anything when the employees have effectively tied our hands. All staff need to realize that they are accountable to themselves and their standards first and foremost. If you want to change your workplace then make a stand and respectfully support your arguments. A good organization will be willing to receive feedback and open to change. If your organization is not like this then I would suggest reassessing your standards and whether this is the type of organization you would like to work for.

Reply
  • On July 29, 2011 at 1:32 am whistlebloweraustralia said:

    An article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, 23 may 2011 exposed William Tarnow Mordi, a neonatologist and director in the neonatal intensive care unit. Even obstetricians rescheduled their deliveries if he was on service to avoid him taking care of the babies. After 8 years, in 2008, an external investigation finally found that he should not be allowed to work in the neonatal unit.

    According to the same report Dr Michael Cole, another neonatologist in the unit, had repeatedly claimed to have been bullied for alerting management to the dangers faced by babies in the unit due to this lack of competence. These reprisals came from all levels of management including HR.

    A year earlier, in 2007, HR interviewed 43 staff members from the unit because of complaints of reprisals and bullying. Apparently every staff member decided not to say anything. They felt afraid to speak out because they had mortgages, family and careers to consider and they did not trust HR. They knew that HR cannot keep what is told to HR confidential. HR must release any complaint to the alleged bullies before any action can be taken. That would be normal due process and natural justice. Apparently no one disclosed any reprisals or bullying at all. Predictably HR found no evidence of bullying.

    Staff obviously felt more confident about discussing their concerns about William Tarnow Mordi’s lack of competence. This led to the external investigation in 2008.

    It appears that the staff involved in 2007did not trust HR and doubted HR’s promise of confidentiality. Proving allegations of bullying or reprisals would be difficult, especially in an organisation where the culture of bullying was endemic but denied (as found by the external investigation) and HR was part of that culture. Perhaps the staff felt on safer ground discussing their concerns about competence which is something better recognised and dealt with.

    All the staff involved, especially Dr Michael Cole, appeared to act as though they knew that HR is not the employee’s friend. HR works for and is paid by the organisation and is expected to work for the organisation’s benefit.

    Workplaces react to threats by eliminating the threat. It is often called ‘workplace bullying’ but is more correctly called ‘Mobbing’. HR is part of this mobbing unit. The process for removing staff, usually whistleblowing staff, is run by HR who could not accomplish the task without at least passive support from the administration.

    HR is not the employee’s friend.

See ‘HR was Useless’ on the Minding the Workplace site.

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