HR Paradox


“Things are not always what they seem to be!”

Somebody told me once that HR is a thankless job. I held on to that notion for a very long time . . . thinking whether I’m in the right profession or so. Until one day I realized, thankless or thankful, it doesn’t matter anyway. HR is my passion, and it’s the right profession for me. I am designed to be in HR, and in fact, I am HR.

What about you?

Most often, the HR function is taken for granted. However, the fact remains that HR is an integral part of an organization. Try to imagine a company opening up, and the tasks that need to be done at the very start. Do you think you’d need an operations guy before anything else? I don’t think so. To start things right, you would need an HR person to find a good operations guy and everyone else.

On the other hand, try to imagine a company closing down. Who do you believe should be the last to go? I think the answer is a little obvious this time. It’s not difficult to understand that only a cold-blooded HR has the tolerance to do the dirty work of firing everyone else, himself included.

Can you see the total HR picture now?

Not yet. What about the things in between? These are the things HR do on a regular basis, the “thankless job” so to speak . . .

  • Ensuring a harmonious labor-management relations through its ER/ LR programs (yes, it’s HR parlance which simply means programs to take care of employees’ needs);
  • Continually improving productivity through “TnD” properly “segmentized” into GDP, MDP and TDP to make sure everyone’s covered (you must be HR  to understand this – it’s Training and Development for TnD, General Development Program, Management Development Program, and Technical Development Program for GDP, MDP and TDP);
  • Taking care that the CompBen (of course, Compensation and Benefits) is appropriately structured and implemented, always worrying how to strike a good balance between statutory compliance (what is legal) and affordability (what is viable businesswise);
  • And all other functions which may be assigned from time to time (and this constitutes the biggest bulk of all functions).

HR is, and should always be, providing value to the organization and its constituents. And here lies the HR Paradox – the more effective HR becomes, the lesser significant it would seem to be. How is that?

According to Herzberg’s theory, there are only two major elements of motivation; hygiene factors and satisfiers. Hygiene factors include salaries, working conditions, policies and administration among others. Satisfiers involve recognition, advancement, growth and others.

A good HR knows that hygiene factors should first be fulfilled, being the more basic needs, before the satisfiers can have a positive impact on employees. But the thing is, if HR does well in this aspect, everything goes quite and calm. When that happens, HR can be perceived as doing nothing significant. However, if HR fails to deliver just one of these hygiene factors, people begin to complain and make noise. It is only then that HR becomes an integral part of organizational strategy towards success. Funny but true.

The HR paradox puts one in a situation where you get damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.  But it’s not enough for one to conclude that HR is a worthless profession just because it’s a thankless job. Because no matter what, a sincere HR affects people’s lives, not just simply but deeply. And no matter what, HR is truly an integral part of business success. And, no matter what, if HR is your passion, it is a worthy profession.


The Leaders’ Ladder

The eyes and ears can just but see and hear . . . gratitude is in the heart and can be felt when it’s there.

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