“Personnel” — The good old days??

I have a huge library. I like to read, and I like to stay abreast of current business thinking, in a variety of disciplines.

So, I have the 1969 edition of Dartnell’s “Personnel Director’s Handbook,” which is just chock full of valuable tidbits. For instance:
Personnel administration is never a job; it is a vocation, a ‘calling,’ carrying with it divine undertones.

And another…
As we said at the outset… women are really competing in a man’s world. Right or wrong. the simple fact is that man was here first.

Interestingly, we all realize how we’ve evolved regarding the second comment. Woman have ascended to all levels of organizations, including the CEO’s office, as well as reaching a great degree of parity in general development. We have work to do still, of course; but no one can argue that we’ve made incredible progress since those 1969 comments.

More disturbing, though, is the first comment. I have a friend who — long before I read this — would say simply, “It’s a job, not a calling.” He is so right.

HR professionals are business people first, functional (human resources) experts second. Our focus is not a “calling;” we shouldn’t provide anything to an organziation except better pathways to success through available human capital. Yet some of us remain confused — and believe that we are the “keepers” of an organization’s “soul,” or something similar.

We are not. Stay focused on measurable deliverables, and let the clergy worry about the other stuff…


Kevin Berchelmann

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