It increasingly concerns me that if you are a white man, you are at a disadvantage in HR.
In the past few years, I have seen more male HR professionals leave HR than enter. The reason? They do not fit in with the ‘in group’ (which is dominated by women), and cannot possibly demonstrate the requisite in-group behaviours.
The perception of HR as soft and fluffy has some relevance. But it is not the HR discipline, rather the HR environment that is engulfed in feminised communication styles and behaviours.
The indiscriminate and avid reliance on political correct-ness within HR (not mirrored in the real ‘hard’ world of business) has a negative impact on how comfortable and accepted men feel in the profession. It has also turned HR into something that is seen as desirable rather than imperative.
It seems every group has its own particular cause or grievance to champion (equal pay, fattism, etc) yet it is perceived that white men are the oppressors in all of this. HR focuses too much on diversity and fringe causes – without sufficient proof of increased bottom line performance – at the expense of focusing on delivering increased business efficiency.
Organisations need to take action now to improve the gender profile of their HR functions. You only have to look at the ratio of women to men enrolling on CIPD and masters courses to realise that the profession has a credibility problem among male workers.
HR as a diversity champion? The irony should not be lost on us.
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