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HR is Not About People & Culture, and It Never Will Be

"HR is a thing of the past, and People & Culture is the future." We heard it all, and as good HR do, they all jumped on this bandwagon without even understanding that they could not fulfil this role.

HR manages HR processes. They are the process completion department designed to execute and keep the organisation running, but they are not intended to look at people and culture.

And before you say "Yes, but ........." I urge you to read up on employee experiences, and you will find one thing in common. Those areas employees complain about are all related to tolerating bad behaviour that no company culture would advocate for.

So where is HR, the culture police, when it comes to poor leadership? Nowhere! They close their eyes because they know they have no power over it. But why have we given them the title of People & Culture? We needed something new and cool but not something realistic. And that is the hard truth.

So, the question remains; How can a department be responsible for something they have no power over?

Culture is everyone's responsibility, not one department's, therefore, the People & Culture message is fundamentally wrong.

But I will go even further. HR often has policies or takes actions that go against company culture, and it starts during recruitment. We all know terrible practices by HR that are certainly not in line with company culture. The other day, I was looking at a company (somebody brought my attention to it) talking about diversity & inclusion, etc. Yet, their job application form requires candidates to put their age and marital status AND includes the question, "Are you pregnant?". BOOM, HR, you are busted. HR cannot be the culture police as they are often the culprit. They are just like any other department, therefore, they cannot be given this responsibility.

Culture is everyone's role, so stop with the nonsense titles and ensure they reflect the job function, not your social agenda.

Culture is about firing bad managers & leaders (including the CEO if necessary) on the spot when they go against the culture and not about pizza parties and ice cream Fridays. If you can give this power to HR, only then can you give them the responsibility and a title that includes Culture.

If you need help with reimagining your People Practices, including aligning your actions with your company's culture, let us know:

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