Untrained HR Managers

March 11, 2009

Two posts in as many days! Something must be getting my goat.

I’ve just come across a survey that supports much of what I’ve long believed about many others in my profession. apparently 67% of HR Managers feel they are not fully trained for the job and 54% say their employers are not looking after their health and safety.

This is like a doctor saying she just can’t get the right pills for her bad back and a machanic complaining about the state of his clutch. 

I can’t say I’m surprised, though I do find it rather refreshing that so many HR ‘managers’ admit to not being up to the job.  The number of instances where staff are put on long term suspension because no one dares take them through a disciplinary procedure or investigate thoroughly a grievance procedure is shocking. If you look at online bulletin boards covering Employee Relations you see a lot of requests for basic information in betweeen a constant stream of moans about how the HR professionals are not being taken seriously by others in the work place.

Maybe the IPD should not give out their qualifications so easily without more coalface experience, or maybe it is up to HR staff to move around roles, industries etc to build up more knowledge, I don’t know. All I know is that when we get called in, business owners are always happily surprised by the positive straightforward advise  they get and even happier that we roll our sleaves up and get the job done for them.

If you’ve listened to, read and I think watched (never saw the film or TV series) the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy you may remember that amongst those sent off in advance of the rest of the planet moving home were Personnel Managers (along side traffic wardens and health and safety officers I think). Good satire rarey misses the point!

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As you may have seen on our news page plans to increase the time parents/guardians can take off for a new baby/adoption may be put on ice. The plans were to increase maternity to 52 weeks from the present 39 and to allow parental leave for fathers to increase also, including being able to take up unused maternity leave.  Our clients and friends who run their own firm all fall into the SME category, which is probably the largest employer of staff in the UK.  None of them, when asked, thought the new proposals workable and have said it would probably make them think twice before employing women who could become pregnant.

This to me raises two points

1/ The proposed legislation would, in reality rather than in the committee rooms in Whitehall, make women under the age of 40ish worse off in the employment stakes

2/ The legislation has been poorly drawn up as no one seems to have picked up on the fact that men were to be able to pick up the maternity leave unused by their partner

Lord Mandleson wants to put any legislation that might be bad for business on a bonfire, this should be one of the first to go onto the pyre of poor policy