Alan Sugar’s sidekick Nick Hewer – famous for his quizzical facial expressions on The Apprentice – has admitted the business mogul has little respect for the HR function.
Hewer, Sugar’s PR adviser and right-hand man on the hit TV show, told Personnel Today that the business entrepreneur had old-fashioned views when it came to understanding what HR professionals did.
The most recent series of The Apprentice saw contestant Paula Jones, an HR consultant, readily admit she ‘didn’t do numbers’, and was fired as a result when she messed up the costings on a soap task.
When asked what Sugar thought of the HR function, Hewer said: “What Sir Alan thinks is possibly very different to what I think. He tends to be unkind about that sort of function for no good reason, actually. He says, what does HR do? In our days, we called it ‘the bloke what gives out the job’. It’s a very simplistic way of looking at it. Of course an HR function in a big organisation is critical.”
In the episode where Jones’s failure to add up numbers correctly was caught out, Sugar said it was no excuse for HR professionals who wanted to be successful in business to state they were not financially-minded. He said: “You are a human resources manager – but you can’t say you can’t do numbers, you can’t do this or you can’t do that. You know how to work out a redundancy package on a calculator, don’t you?”
Speaking at a breakfast briefing today, organised by recruitment consultancies Interim Performers and VMA Search, Hewer added Sugar was determined to battle past bureaucracy and red-tape in the Civil Service in his new role as enterprise tsar.
“Sir Alan’s perception of the Civil Service is that they are a bunch of pen-pushers, that they don’t know about business. He’s very focused and impatient, and very fast on his feet.”
He added Sugar did not care which political party was in power, only that he wanted to help young people get inspired in business.