HR Hartley

PT reflects what’s going on in ‘real life’

Personnel Today has been pretty busy recently, fielding sackfuls of readers’
letters. Each sack is revealing rich pickings, some of which are relayed to
help me keep in touch with what you’re thinking and doing.

Apart from the bloke who writes in this week about chucking in HR to launch
his own car valeting business (see opposite – good luck matey), correspondence
from Harish Bhayani, the principal of PRM Diversity Consultants, struck a
chord.

He wanted to see Personnel Today fully getting to grips with, and actively
promoting, diversity and equality, and not simply reflecting what happened to
come its way.

"As a publication read by so many (and many influential people),"
he wrote, "what Personnel Today says, and how, carries huge weight, and
with that comes a responsibility to get its meanings and messages right and
play its role to the full."

Phew! He’s right of course, but witness last week’s issue when Personnel
Today had a fairly typical problem. Check out the page that reports on the
human capital summit in Amsterdam (6 April, page 4). It sported a whole bunch
of men – both pictured and quoted – and a layout that the editor admits won’t
win any artistic awards.

On a busy press day, the editorial team tackled the senior reporter who’d
attended the conference. "Weren’t there any women there?" they asked.
"None on the podium or leading any discussions," he affirmed.

Yes, Mr Bhayani, Personnel Today can actively promote diversity and equality
and will continue to do so to the best of its ability, because that is right
and proper. But part of its job is also to reflect what goes on in the
real-life marketplace. And it is this: women still do not occupy enough top
roles; equal pay still does not exist; and too many organisations are still
influenced and dominated by white men in suits.

Hartley is an HR director at large

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