Let’s face it, human resources have long been a misnomer
I found your article “Preparing Leaders for a Changed World” (Business, Jan 4) compelling and timely. However, I cannot help but interpret the quotes from management academics in the Boston area as somewhat specious. The “new” priorities highlighted in their business education programs make it seem like COVID-19 has sparked a new awareness that employees and human resources departments need more attention, and that we don’t. knew, before the pandemic, that HR is woefully underfunded and that employees are essentially miserable at work. Thank goodness business schools come to the rescue with high value added “people analytics” to better graphically show how much people hate their jobs. In reality, organizations have been monitoring the base for years, only to avoid taking corrective action on issues that are simmering and are often obvious.
Before COVID, Gallup repeatedly warned that about two-thirds of American workers report feeling “disengaged” in the workplace, and a 2015 Deloitte article claimed that “more than half of the workforce work would not recommend their employer to their friends ”. Academics have long been aware of employee disaffection, both in blue-collar and white-collar executives.
While the pivot we are witnessing now shows a cautious and expected market direction from business schools, it is sad that an ultra-tight labor market is the impetus to care about the attitudes and suffering of working people. . An even darker reality is that our business model is focused on efficiency and lowering costs, which only tolerates employees until an automated or robotic solution can be implemented.
The author is professor of business administration at Rivier University and author of “Deconstructing Management Maxims: A Critical Examination of Conventional Business Wisdom, Vol. I and II.