In my last post, it was no surprise that a part of the feminist war on tech startups was their lack of a HR (Human Resources) Department. It turns out that it isn’t just startups that want to get rid of HR. The Wall Street Journal had an article about companies that want to get rid of HR. The WSJ article notices the same things we talked about:
Executives say the traditional HR department—which claims dominion over everything from hiring and firing to maintaining workplace diversity—stifles innovation and bogs down businesses with inefficient policies and processes. At the same time, a booming HR software industry has made it easier than ever to automate or outsource personnel-related functions such as payroll and benefits administration.
The article had some direct quotes from company executives:
Ruppert Landscape Inc., an 11-year-old landscaping company with 900 employees, has never had a traditional HR department. Instead, managers must balance renewing contracts and ensuring that a client’s grass is cut to the proper height with hunting down talent at college recruiting sessions and teaching employees about the company’s 401(k) plan.
CEO Craig Ruppert said the decentralized structure fosters autonomy and accountability among leaders across the company, which is based in Laytonsville, Md., and covers markets from Philadelphia to Atlanta. He estimates that its managers spend 5% of their time on matters related to human resources.
“I just have a hard time understanding how somebody in an office two or four states away can do a better job of solving an employee problem than someone who has a vested interest in the employee,” Mr. Ruppert said.
There were similar sentiments in the comments to the WSJ article:
Sure, someone’s got to draft the employee handbook and distribute 401(k) forms, but really, mostly what HR does is create a barrier between management and job-seekers as well as employees.
I agree. The main purpose of HR departments is to make sure the most qualified job candidates never make it to an interview.
An HR department can turn an entrepreneurial, venture-backed success story into a Soviet-style Gulag almost overnight. I saw this firsthand early in my career.
HR departments in this country can be renamed in “Political Correctness Departments”.
Think about it. The main thing HR does is to make sure you run your company the way the government wants it run — from payroll withholding, to leave policies, harrassment training and anti-discrimination rules. It would be great if HR actually helped recruit talent, but that is rarely the case. Instead, they are the Voice of the State — like the Party functionaries who could be found in every work brigade in the old Soviet system.
Bob Townsend espoused a limited HR function in his book, Up the Organization, more than 35 years ago. Apparently, it’s still a revolutionary idea to some people.
That last quote is important. People have been trying to get rid of or scale down HR for at least 35 years. Many corporate executives see the problems with HR. Many HR functions can now be done with software. Given all this, why can’t companies seem to get rid of HR?
Both the article and various comments said that HR is needed to deal with lawsuits. One comment used the term “liability bombs”. They’re getting close to the problem, but they can’t quite name the problem. The problem is women. At any particular company, most of the women are in unproductive roles (like HR ironically) and are “liability bombs” To deal with female “liability bombs” more people have to be added to HR. Since most people added to HR will be women, this becomes a never ending cycle of of hiring women to deal with the problems of hiring women.
One reason tech startups are so feared by women and manginas is because they have not started the cycle of hiring women to deal with the problems of hiring women. Since startups aren’t hiring women due to the lack of women actually capable of doing tech work, they don’t need to hire HR women to deal with them. As tech startups grow, they have the potential to escape this cycle. If enough startups avoid this cycle while growing into larger businesses, they will show the way how to get rid of HR and all of the women who are employed to it or employed as a result of it. Women and manginas are afraid of this outcome.