These days HR personnel are having a field day handling grievance redressal, conflict management, anger management, talent retention, attrition control, morale and welfare of the workforce like never before. HR in the heydays used to be about hiring [No Firing, which was considered as a last resort when all avenues and alternatives have been exhausted because the cost of hire is always high; besides a new hire is an asset, be it a green horn or groomed one with so much investment in terms of intellectual property through training and knowledge transfer. It would be a colossal loss to let go of someone equipped with the expertise at the expense of company as exit results in their entire endeavor going down the drain. So HR, contrary to the misconception of being trigger-happy to fire anyone in the range, possess the acumen to weed out the best from the worst and hence posted at the gate.] Today it’s a different scenario with its own sets of demand that justifies almost anything. My former CEO would chide if employees are referred as ‘Resources’. “Can we please address them as staff or colleagues or team? I don’t ever want them to be addressed as Resources.” It wasn’t a counsel but command. He will sermonize ‘Mind is at premium. Not machines. Remember it’s the brain that churns the logic to create algorithms and formulae to make those chips and programs. Learn to assign priority and the nomenclature while naming. Never should I hear my men and women of workforce as Resources.’ A mild dressing down but will live in memory as a cardinal rule. People management is as difficult, if not, worse than Project Management. Set aside the hardware and software, its humans at work without whom what good will it serve to have these ‘Resources’. Wondered why do the HR personnel need to spend a significant time in Managing Human affairs as their main responsibility, apart from appraisal, hike, promotion and other related engagements? Because each and every one of us carry our baggage of ego. “Why should I?” is perhaps an explosive poser that doesn’t dress your ego, instead it brings it to center stage demanding attention and clutches on to the cog of the wheel controlling its spin. And of course, dealing with some ‘prime-Donna’ employees known for their tour de force with bloated ego wanting instant gratification in the form of appreciation, accolades or simply ‘you are the best’ compliment is always a sore wound that’s often scratched. And there are bruised egos biding the time for retribution to settle scores. As humans, we are all self-righteous and sanctimonious. What we do appears to be right; else we won’t be doing it at all, right? Besides, some of us are the biggest bigot, unacceptably intolerant to others views. “I am always right”, too busy expressing our views opinions and hardly ever listening. Forget others; I studied my own behavioral aspects to understand what makes me so egoistic. I can be extremely humble to excruciatingly haughty and all it takes to set me off would be a word, look, gesture or ignorance. It’s the pride or vanity that has to vanish. Anyone to claim immunity to ego is hollow and hoodwinking. ‘You will never be free until you free yourself from the prison of your own false thoughts.’ And that false notion is your unworthy self-importance. When pride is pricked, it poisons our mind purging rationale out of our behavior and that’s when I become vindictive. Anyone in agreement is friend and disagreement decidedly foe. Recently I took a stroll with my HR and a colleague and on the way had a difference of opinion over a subject, which soon snowballed and escalated into a heated exchange. When tempers soared, the HR intervened by directing the colleague to ‘go to office’, and stayed put with me for a while without uttering a word. Though two were involved, HR absolved the other person of any misdemeanor, while I was pulled up with a scalding statement ‘I expected better from you. Apparently your ego got the better of you’. A casual chat can inadvertently ignite into a crisis and set the self on fire. Ego is dangerous and destructive. One must be humble in victory and gracious in defeat, but then we tend to take things too personally that even a joke turns out to be a jibe. Professionals are adept in getting rid of ego by containing emotion and restraining response. There is a choice to react to any disagreement – if only we can be judicious. Dealing with human emotion is complex, caustic and can prove catastrophic. One wrong move or a misstep, the blame will be squarely on the ‘incompetent’ handling of the HR professional, and once the storm has blown over and dust settles, charges will be dropped and HR cleared of any wrong doings. What about the unfair accusation and unwarranted hardship endured for no reason or rhyme. Oh! please, let’s not talk about 'who said life is fair'. Try being at the receiving end and you would know what I am trying to say. Now the most important aspect – won’t the HR personnel suffer from the same ego issues after all they aren’t Aliens. Human Resources management is usually touchy. It’s complicated and complex and extremely sensitive. From compliments to cursing, the HR would have heard it all. But isn’t the HR human as well to emote, react, respond or even allowed to be rude? NO. That aint HR then. Do they really smile or just wear one? Very business-like in demeanor and diplomatic in response, it’s very hard to figure out their face. I am very blunt in my response – unedited and unadulterated and paid for the consequence but admittedly it’s a liberty on part of my portfolio which a HR is deprived. They are advised and expected to contain emotion, refrain from reacting like being boxed and closed from emoting. The glorified lot of the HR know exactly when to speak what, how to conduct in the given circumstances demonstrate dazzling presence of mind in curating the content before uttering. Some of the HR professionals have taken me by sheer surprise as I marveled at their composure to stay absolutely still in the wake of a storm. They aren’t easily ruffled and can’t be roughed up. Something that makes them stand apart and sifted from sea of faces. The glorified ones. Now I have begun to understand the HR actually manage to keep the company’s [read employees] ego in check and balance, always with an emphasis ‘if anything, it’s not the employee but the EGO that has to go!!
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