Labour Minister Colin Jordan believes the term human resource is too “narrowly focused” and is appealing to human resource (HR) professionals to see workers as their responsibility, and to make them comfortable in every aspect of their job.
He issued the challenge last evening as he addressed the start of Disrupt HR Caribbean, Barbados Edition, an event attended by several HR practitioners and held at the Regne Lounge, Warrens, St. Michael.
Minister Jordan said: “Those of you who are people development professionals/specialists, I am challenging you this evening to recognise that those who work in your organisation are your responsibility. Your role is not to demonstrate to senior management that you are tougher and rougher than they are. Your role is not to demonstrate to senior management to show that you have value to the firm.
Your role is not to be the company’s executioner. Your role is not to be seen primarily as the enforcer of a disciplinary code.
“You are to be the people who workers feel comfortable coming to; who workers feel comfortable talking to; who workers feel comfortable sharing with; you are to be the ones who demonstrate that you care about people; that you care about the human beings who work in your organisations; that you are interested in their development; that you see yourselves as mentors, as guides, as teachers, as leaders.”
While offering reason for rejecting the term human resources, Mr. Jordan said it gave the idea that a person comes to a work place to do something and is part of the resource base of the organisation, working with land, equipment, technology to transform something into something else, such as goods and services.
“I’m of the view that that kind of thinking does … not respect the fact that those workers are human beings – full human beings. So, those persons are not just going to work to add value to your organisation. They are not just coming to work, or coming to the organisation to earn a living for themselves. When a person leaves home to go to a workplace, they are not able to leave behind the fact that a child is ill; they are not able to leave behind the reality of a diagnosis of an illness that has taken them by surprise; they are not able to leave behind at the door, or at home, the fact that they have received a letter from the bank, saying that because of COVID-19 and the fact that they weren’t able to work and pay their mortgage they are going to lose their home,” he explained.
The Minister, who is also responsible for Social Partnership Relations, stressed that human beings do not operate that way and the worker could not be separated from the whole person.
“Human beings are constructs of their physical, social, emotional, psychological, spiritual, mental [selves]. All these different facets of a human being make up the person, and so when we try to separate what people do from the fact they are total human beings, then we sell them short and we reduce the possibility for the productivity that we expect from those persons,” he maintained.