Why Do We Settle for Low Information Human Resources?

Article main image
Sep 4, 2013

In the political world, low information voters (LIVs) are often blamed for making voting decisions based on an insufficient grasp of the issues and/or candidates.

Outcomes of LIVs’ lack of awareness may result in skewed apathy or staunch support for various positions or politicians without any rational personal convictions one way or the other.

Low information rationality often manifests in other aspects of life as well, including: consumer preferences, buying patterns, social interactions, and of course, business behavior. Examples of every day patterns influenced by low information rationality include bandwagon buy-in of popular buzzwords, fashion trends, demographic stereotypes, technology usage and assorted brands of all categories falling in and out of favor.

Why so much HR bashing?

When examining this inadequate information phenomenon from a business perspective, the persistent unflattering image of the human resources profession comes to mind. Whether from low awareness of upgrading options or leadership apathy, many organizations enable status quo lackluster HR support to be the norm.

Practically all of the negative stereotypes about HR only existing to be gate-keepers, policy police, and fun-quashing rule enforcers can be found in various degrees across the corporate world. While the profession should serve a higher purpose, examples of bloated bureaucracy and failed attempts at becoming a strategic business driver dominate HR’s reputation more often than not.

When encountering mainstream media stories about hiring practices, the plight of the unemployed, the alleged workforce skills gap and the endless war for talent, one can’t help but notice HR always endures the brunt of the bashing.

Countless articles, reports and statistics about under-/unemployment are accompanied by an avalanche of comments blaming HR’s incompetence on causing the perpetual stagnation of the economy, lack of job growth and discriminatory recruiting methods.

HR should help solve business problems

On the one hand, those sentiments seems to imply far more power than HR actually wields.

And on the other hand, it highlights the public’s opinion about HR’s inability to positively influence broader issues.

If HR is in fact guilty of preventing progress, why is no one in a more prestigious position doing anything to hold HR accountable for its collective ineptness? Are executive business leaders knowingly condoning HR stumbling along in mediocrity or they are simply unaware that other alternatives exist?

Either way, the situation is analogous to repeatedly voting for scandal-ridden or ineffective incumbent politicians due to name recognition versus becoming familiar with and replacing them with better qualified candidates.

None of us should settle for HR support that compounds rather than solves business problems. Only HR has the ability to erase the stigma that poor performance within the profession is not just accepted but expected.

Instead of clamoring for coveted furniture to park their posterior, HR practitioners must produce evidence of credibility to combat the lingering effects of low information.