Human resources in the middle

Does HR take a stand or play it safe when employees raise concerns?
By Kunle Akingbola
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/05/2002

I recently read an article by Alan Weiss titled, “The Only Thing in the Middle Is Pressure.” Written about the bust in the dotcom sector, Weiss argues HR should take a stand on issues in the workplace. With the dotcom meltdown, many HR departments found themselves reduced to pink slip distributors with little input on human capital management. Once again HR found itself stuck in the middle — the bridge between employees and management.

No one will deny that HR has grown in professional stature over the past two decades. The recovery from the recession of the 1980s, the introduction and ascendancy of lean management and information technology have aided the professional profile of HR.

As HR professionals, we talk constantly about the importance of strategic recruitment, performance enhancing training, cost-effective compensation systems, stable labour-management relations and aligning HR strategies with corporate strategies. I don’t know any HR professional who is happy with just processing documents, without contributing to the decision-making process.