Can We Talk About People Please?

Today started with a business leader on breakfast TV talking of how they had ‘tidied up’ a subsidiary that had made losses. There was something almost Hitlerian about this – part of this tidying up would have been restructuring and redundancies. That’s people – their expectations and ambitions, their commitments and responsibilities – being cleared away in the tidying up.

Then there were a couple of recruitment commentators in my timeline promoting the fact that more businesses were talking about increasing their use of flexible resources in the next 3 months. That’s people they’re talking about, now a flexible resource. People with dependants and responsibilities, plans and hopes, expectations and ambitions, people with full time commitments but now getting part time, flexible income.

A ray of sunshine appeared when Tim Oldman of Leesman Index talked of workplace design being a people business not a buildings business.

The language of business seems seriously skewed at the moment. It’s depersonalising and dehumanising jobs, driving a race to the bottom for the value and self-worth of those who do the work. And it’s self-defeating as those with precarious incomes live precarious lives, which benefits no-one in the long run.

Tomorrow I’ll be joining a bunch of fine HR folk in London for the 5th ConnectingHR unconference. The topic is Brave HR.

Maybe re-humanising and re-personalising the language of business would be a brave start.



(Image courtesy of Lessons From Fantasy)