Home > cultural commentary, fiction, horror, humor > Human Resources Transformation Consultant

Human Resources Transformation Consultant

There really are such people as Human Resources Transformation Consultants, but I’m sure they don’t do the job described in this piece – or at least, not in the way described. What can I say? I was working on personal development planning materials and by one in the morning my creativity took a sudden left turn. I’ll write something more sensible about PDPs in a day or two!

This was the job I applied for:

We are looking for a highly motivated individual with the ability to innovate new and creative solutions quickly, in a fast moving business environment. The post holder’s responsibilities will include:

* Working alongside line managers and using business analysis procedures to identify posts that do not require people to staff them.

* Developing structures and processes that enable the company to move forward with appropriate recruitment strategies for human and other resources.

* Addressing any unexpected developments with timely and efficient solutions

* Providing training to line managers to enable them to get the best out of their human and other resources.

I have a good CV, a great track record, and I get an interview.

Two people face me across the desk. No smalltalk.

“Mr Jones? I’ll start by asking you how you’d identify posts that don’t require actual staffing?” This is a young guy who uses a lost of expensive skincare products. He has old, old eyes. The kind that might have seen things in a previous life. His tie’s not regimental. He’s not ex-military but he’s certainly ex-something.

I choose my words carefully, try to sound bright and positive. Talk about business process analysis and taking out unnecessary jobs, greater use of automation. The woman interrupts me. It’s only the severe tailoring of her jacket and the stand-up collar on her shirt that stops her looking about sixteen. She flicks her long hair the way teenage girls do.

“So if you had a post that requires filling, can’t be automated, but is repetitive? No one is prepared to do it. Call centre work, say. What kind of labour force would you envisage using?”

The usual stuff. Redefine the job, integrate roles. Build brand identity, foster the idea of working for a greater good, look for labour niches such as young mothers working part-time, out of normal hours, maybe from home. If all else fails, outsource to a low wage economy.

“I don’t think you quite got my drift. The idea would be to transform the role from human to non-human.”

“As in…?”

The man shrugs. He’s bored now. “We’re currently working with staff recruited from morgues, or in some cases from mass graves. They’re fine for back office jobs, except for the odd bit of cosmetic work. We don’t go into replacing anything like shattered limbs, though.”

Am I the butt of a private joke? “Are you seriously saying you’re employing dead people?”

“Dead?” The woman smiles at me, bright white fangs. “Of course not. Not by the time we’ve worked on them. Electrodes in the right places, regenerative drugs.”

“But if they were bodies, what about the families? Grieving relatives? Employment law? Health and safety?”

The man’s interest picks up again. “Mostly we use supply sources that don’t come with those problems. War zones, for instance. But you’re hitting the right general area. The section of the job description about developing structures and processes for recruitment. We see it as largely smoothing out the paperwork on our acquisitions. But you have some good points there.”

I look at the ceiling, the florescent light fitting with shadows of captured dead flies. I look at the floor, a green carpet with patterns and stains of wear. I look back at the interviewers, the shadows in them. To break the growing silence, I ask if they experience problems training the human managers of inhuman resources.

“Not at all,” the woman says. “Some have never considered their workforce in people terms anyway. Though others do need conceptual readjustment. You’ll provide them with training to address the ethical issues that underlie resources transformation. But we tend to find where line managers have difficulties adapting to the new workforce, small doses of datura work well. That’s covered in your orientation package.”

They look at each other. His dead eyes, her sharp teeth. Abruptly she flicks her hair back. “Are you okay to start Monday?” she asks. The man has a spiel about it being a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a revolution in business practice, the development of possibilities that are simply “otherworldly.”

I get out of there as fast as I decently can. On the way home I stop for an umami and cholesterol sub and a skinny latte. The guy who serves me has pallid skin, blank eyes, non-existent communications skills. I’d like to put it down to long hours and minimum wage, but I can’t quite make myself believe it.

  1. February 12, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Great last lines. “The guy who serves me has pallid skin, blank eyes, non-existent communications skills. I’d like to put it down to long hours and minimum wage, but I can’t quite make myself believe it.”
    ah – so that explains it!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: