“Sex, Lies and Human Resources*”

*Note: Not my title. This is a quoted title of an article on page 240 of the March 2018 edition of Marie Claire. Featured on the front page, no less.

When I first started in HR, no one knew who we were. Heck, we weren’t even HR back then. In 2005, popular business magazine Fast Company brought HR into the spotlight, in a not-so-gracious way, with a cover story stating “Why We Hate HR.” One of the more pithy comments was:

”The human-resources trade long ago proved itself, at best, a necessary evil — and at worst, a dark bureaucratic force that blindly enforces nonsensical rules resists creativity, and impedes constructive change.”

Some may chastise me for a 13-years-old reference, however, ten year later Harvard Business Review again spotlighted all that is wrong with HR, dedicating a whole volume to their perception that “It’s Time To Blow Up HR.” It doesn’t take much time to see that the complaints are pretty similar to those made in Fast Company in 2005. (more…)

The subtleties of gender bias

In the eighties, I worked on a project that required me to travel with a team to a site where we had to sign in and wear badges. We went there about once every month for over a year. It drove me crazy because the security guards (both male and female) would hand me my badge and say, “Here you go, Carol,” and then hand the male team member his badge with, “Here you go, Mr. James.”

Today, thirty years later, the same thing happened. A receptionist called me “Carol,” and my husband, “Mr. Anderson.” Dang. Wouldn’t you think we would have evolved, given all of the focus on diversity and inclusion?

In the nineties, I headed a diversity initiative for a bank. One of the elephants hanging around the room in those days was the chatter among female executives who were learning to play golf because they were tired of having business discussion occur on the golf course when they weren’t there. (more…)