Recruiters and hiring managers regularly ghost job candidates. You know how it works--candidate comes in, interviews, sometimes multiple times, and then the recruiter never, ever gets back to the candidate. Emails are unanswered. Phone calls are ignored. And no one in the human resources department cared.

Employees have started ghosting their employers. Managers are shocked when someone just stops showing up. 

Human resources requires people to attend diversity training that Peter Bregman, CEO of Bregman Partners, says not only doesn't work, it makes the problem worse. Instead of learning how to get along with people, we learn to put people into boxes. 

And let's talk about sexual harassment that was brushed under the rug (Amazon), or the victims who were paid off (Les Moonves at CBS). 

Finally, pay inequities. While overall pay discrepancies on a societal scale are almost entirely explained by choices, many individual companies have problems. Shouldn't someone in HR be constantly monitoring all of this?

Why isn't HR stepping in?

It's true that HR is never the final decision maker, but HR should provide the experts on people. Finance reports to the CEO as well, but no one would bat an eyelash at saying the CFO has more power than the chief of human resources. While CEOs sometimes go against the advice of others in their team, it seems that in the above situations, either the CHROs are completely impotent or completely incompetent.

And in areas where the head of HR definitely has direct influence, such as when recruiters ghost candidates, the blame lands squarely on HR's shoulders. This bad behavior has resulted in employees and candidates turning the tables, and, again, that's on HR.

Is it any wonder that, when the labor market is tight, workers turn the tables? I'm not saying any of this behavior is appropriate -- but the reason more workers are ghosting employers is completely clear. Things have changed.

And pay inequities shouldn't last more than a few minutes--isn't someone in HR signing off on employment offers and reviewing annual increases? If the differences get out of hand, we should look at HR.

As for sexual harassment, many CEOs were strongly motivated to protect their stars (Matt Lauer) or were the harassers themselves (Harvey Weinstein, Les Moonves), and we can see that HR couldn't do much about it. But, in many cases, the misbehaving employee isn't the CEO or the face of the network. They are just employees. Some good, some bad. And yet HR doesn't demand that they be fired or even reprimanded.

Of course, there are fabulous HR people. I've worked for and with some of the best in the world. But every time a recruiter ghosts a candidate, every time someone is paid unfairly, and every time a sexual harasser is ignored, HR gets a black eye. If we want to have fair pay, good relationships with employees, and quality job candidates--the things that the experts in people should want--then HR needs to stand up and do its job. 

Published on: Feb 13, 2019
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