Lace me with a few beers and get me started on the subject of HR and it won’t be ling before I’m boring you senseless with my lament at the demise of the HR Generalist. Or more accurately the demise of the classic TU infested environments that maggie almost single handedly killed off back in the 80’s that were the breeding ground for many of the senior generalists plying their trade today.
If there was one thing that those environments taught you it was humility and an apreciation of your fellow man, no matter what their status. And let me tell you nothing knocks the arrogance out of a rookie HR professional than going three rounds with a Trade Union Convenor.
These are the thoughts that spring to mind when I consider the current predicament of the Royal Mail and their troublesome internal relations. You could be forgiven for thinking we were back in the early 80’s given the current stand off. It certainly feels like a long time since ‘the management’ and ‘the workers’ were so polarised in their positions.
Now, speaking as someone who spent their formative years sparring with the unions this is quite interesting. But it is also quite sad. After all, it’s the year 2009. And Its not as if the Royal Mail is still being run by a bunch of dinosaurs. No. At its helm are what some would say are a crop of the finest leaders money can buy including Alan Leighton (recently departed) and Adam Crozier. Yet, despite all this expertise and a book or two between them on what constitutes excellence in leadership it appears that no one in the leadership team is capable of leading this organisation!
Instead there is lot of chest pounding going on and to be frank I expect better. It’s basic stuff, as anyone with an ounce of industrial relations experience and common sense will tell you. It’s going nowhere and I lay the blame firmly at managements door. Oddly enough, since Tony McCarthy’s departure the top HR seat has been vacant with no sign of a credible replacement. Surely Adam and his team are missing a trick here? Although a source tells me the top team, for reasons better known to themselves, don’t actually want a replacement.
I say be careful. I think there would be a lot of value right now in spending some of that remuneration pot on an HR with a few grey hairs. I thought I could win a war of attrition once but after many months and some significant collateral damage I realsed that the way forward no matter what you may think is collaboration. Not confrontation.
Unless of course you are Maggie, whom Adam certainly is not!