Friday, 4 May 2012

Research into management - it seems British managers, by and large, are useless

My good friends at the CIPD (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development), that astute body of people who I wouldn't leave in charge of a Happy Meal order at that popular fast food outlet (perhaps they should ask permission to use the clown as their mascot), have come up with some silly season research (a few months early, of course, in pursuit of getting into the May bank holiday media when journalists will seize upon any old drivel to get away from the office early) that suggests British managers are out of touch with their staff and generally deluded about their own worth.

Yes, great stuff from those who are meant to head-up the wild, wacky and totally dysfunctional world of HR.

They went on to say that managers consistently have a more grandiose view of their own effectiveness than do those who work for them.

Well, ten out of ten for stating the blasted obvious, as anyone working on the shop floor, in an office, on a production line, in a shop, call centre or on the minimum wage or slightly above will testify to! And none more so that the Royal Mail, where, if you ask any postie struggling in the rain to complete his/her now over-extended rounds will tell you, his/her sorting office will be knee deep in the useless buggers, hands forever in pockets or drinking tea.

It's all part of the invasive uselessness of HR in this country, which, I know I go on about ad nauseum, but no one seems to do anything about it.

Abysmal recruitment practices are rife, with the overall dishonesty in recruitment advertisements ("My client" when it's plainly not their client, "leading" when all the others say similar, "phishing" activities that lead job seekers on when said agency has not even been employed by the company to recruit on their behalf etc).

Then there's the actual lauding of the HR seniors themselves in companies, totally unjustified, many sitting on senior management teams (often a bunch of equally gormless gnomes, who take a far greater salary than the real workers, all in relation to the value they add to the business - but that's another story) because their prime function seems to be solely as professionally inefficient office administrators who only come into their own when it's a happy-slappy team-building day (ugh!), where they get the opportunity to place coloured squares on the floor for staff to jump up and down on and pretend they are trees.

I speak from practical and quite bitter experience of some of the worst HR practices ever. The three companies in the past I have worked for where there was no HR input whatsoever (rare today), were the best jobs in my career. The managers rolled their sleeves up and threw their lot in when required; they never asked you to do something they weren't prepared to do themselves; they knew what day it was; they were managers who actually added value to the business.

So, perhaps before simply deriding useless management, perhaps ask why they are so useless. And for heaven's sake, only question it if you know you can do better.

Which sadly, is nearly always the case anyway.

It really is time all this Americanised HR drivel was done away with, and genuine, hardworking and respected Personnel Managers were reintroduced. Personnel Managers who shuffle less pieces of paper from in-tray to out-tray. Personnel Managers who know what their staff do. And Personnel Managers who are willing and able to undertake direct recruitment of staff by virtue of the knowledge of their workers' function in the business, rather than simply leave it to the moribund "My clients" and "leaders" brigade.

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