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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is

Human Resources Sucks

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Published Monday, December 20, 2010 8:00 AM by andyleonard

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Andy said:

I've seen how sometimes HR staff are too busy dealing with policies and handbooks so they don't have time to deal with the people.

I work with clients who's main resource is their people, some internal, some external. For that reason the important things like making sure people are qualified to do their jobs and have uptodate  safety training etc is handled by the operational department not HR.

It would be interesting to see if this model means that their HR departments can deal with their peoples' higher level needs, unfortunately I never get to see that activity.

December 20, 2010 9:57 AM

Mike said:

I've seen how HR policies like EO are discussed and written about in company websites and literature, according to law. But then HR employs an off-shore team of entirely males. Probably because of varied attitudes towards women in the workforce in some locations of the world. Seems to me, no one wants to discuss why the offshore team does not meet the companies EO guidelines. Therefore, I am not very impressed by globalization, HR policies, and corporate compliance. Fortunately, the HR staff still gets promotions and bonuses given these hidden flaws.

December 20, 2010 11:44 AM

Boyan Penev said:

Wikipedia on "Resource":

A resource is any physical or virtual entity of limited availability that needs to be consumed to obtain a benefit from it. In most cases, commercial or even non-commerial factors require resource allocation through resource management.

It is interesting how someone took the word and decided it fits to people...

December 20, 2010 5:17 PM

granadaCoder said:

Another gem Andy!

//"What if we train our people and they leave?" What if you DON'T train them and they STAY?//

Wonderful quote!

The only caveat I'll add is that... if you train people, somehow let them use what they learned in some kind of purposeful outlet.

Not complete rewrites of everything, but new projects could use a little "what kind of technology do we have NOW to develop this project?"

And not "What have we done for past 20 years, year after year with no deviation." or even worse "I'm an ex-developer turned manager, and we can only develop projects with practices that were prevalent (up to) the day I stopped being a developer.  PS and don't ever illude to the idea that I'm not a great developer, even if its been 5 years or more since I last developed.".

"And PPS, you are only going to earn as much as I did when I was a developer, and you should be happy with that for eternity."

And sometimes when you allow people to introduce new ideas to the team, refactor some existing projects or prototype some new things, the company/development team can be become more efficient(?), more productive(?), more reliable(?) or other benefits.  Wow, those TRAINING session(s) you paid for... could bring ~new~ ideas/methods to the's craziness I tell you.

In fact, my first Andy-led discussion was because of this.  I attended a SSIS presentation at Sql Saturday in Charlotte in order to try and get rid of/get beyond some home brewed DataMoving solution(s).

Unfortunately, SSIS violated the "That's not how we've done it around these parts since Sql Server 6.5, so "no" to that idea."

Live and learn.  It takes the difficult to mature us (alot of the time if not most of the time) I believe.

Now, everything I've written should also take ... the Best of Breed (anti pattern) and maybe "Fools Rush In" anti-pattern (maybe other anti patterns?) ...into account.  You can't chase everything under the sun.  But with "always-chasing" as one extreme, and "never budge" at the other, there's a healthy place in the middle.

Rock on!

December 21, 2010 5:05 PM

Schmartah said:

Our HR department is an absolute joke.  It consists of one lady who doesn't return calls, brushes everything under the rug and continually sides with an idiot lower manager with no real clout in the company. .And they love to waste valuable company time with demoralizing  and worthless "team building" exercises that only succeed in driving people further apart.  Here's a clue: if you're respected as a manager who values and respects your employees, you don't need team building quilting and popcorn parties. The American workplace has become an absolute joke in the last decade or so.  Have you looked at some of the asinine job ads some of these HR people post on line?  I've seen $8.00 an hour 2-page job ads asking for the world  (college degree not required but preferred), and jobs where the HR Department can't decide who it is they want to hire: secretary with computer programming experience and ISO savvy; must be willing to do some light cleaning on the side. Get rid of the clueless in-house HR department, fire the useless, often psychotic middle managers, and hire good employees who can sail unsupervised for you. There are successful businesses out there that have done just that. I know, I've worked for one.

March 14, 2011 2:41 PM

brian said:

everybody knows that HR sucks. Less jobs in this crisis ridden world means more and more of these HR parasites having more and more power while being less and less competent.

They are not only useless but they are the most unproductive and therefore the most expensive employees in a company.

99% have no skills, no competency in any trade and 90% of them have not a clue about people, even though they often have studied pseudo sciences like psychology.

HR people pollute the ecosystem of healthy enterprise until they have helped recruiting so many incompetent employees (including friends and family) that the company has become hopelessly sick.

As a CEO, I would fire the entire HR department, ask them to go polish their nails and surf on facebook, linkedin and google at home if they want, but not with the money of my shareholders !

Recruitment was and should be done by operative and skilled people (sales people should recruit sales people, accountants recruit accountants, etc...). It was the case in the past, when corporate bullshit wasn't the norm.

As more and more executives realize, we don't need HR. At least not for recruitment.

February 7, 2014 9:20 AM

Herman Melville said:

Great article on the scourge that is HR.  They are out of touch with reality and only serve as buffers to management and litigation deterrents.  It's demotivating to see corporations hire HR executives who draw exorbitant paychecks while telling employees they are aiming to reduce salaries to the 50th percentile average of the industry standard.

June 18, 2014 5:16 AM

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