Have a rant: The ego has landed

Is it just me, or has the cult of the massive ego begun to infiltrate the top levels of the HR hierarchy?

Having switched to HR from managing a team in a private business (with no HR team) – because I found any attempts to help my team develop were always thwarted by the God that is money and the need to feed the egomaniacs at the top – imagine my surprise to find just the same going on in HR.

In my previous role, people were seen as just ‘resources’ to be brought in when needed and discarded as soon as the going got tough.

By moving into HR, I naively thought I would be able to help people develop, and be encouraged to do so by the high-achieving HR directors and managers leading our profession.

How wrong I was? Not only have most HR directors I’ve come across have all the people skills of former Ugandan military dictator Idi Amin, but they combine this with the caring instincts of Gordon Gekko (portrayed by Michael Douglas in the film Wall Street). Their mantra seems to be ‘me, me, me’. And they seem to swap jobs like City chief executives – to no good effect apart from lining their own pockets with golden hellos and golden handshakes.

Not only do they not inspire HR teams to do a great job, but they inspire contempt in their teams by acting as the bringer of bad news from the boardroom – presumably in a bid to save their own skins – ­and generally flounce about doing lots of ‘networking’ and little else.

High-profile, ‘strategic’ HR directors, as featured in Personnel Today and elsewhere, seem to hold themselves in incredibly high regard. Perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if big businesses dispensed with HR completely. Then those of us doing the day job could do it for the line managers, who at least know what goes on in the business.

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