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The DIY Culture: Not for HR

Have we become the do it yourself (DIY) generation? Have we been sold on a philosophy that I can do pretty much anything as good as the experts?
Just look at the growth in DIY retailing….. home furnishings and hardware stores that have sprung up in the last decade:  Home Depot, Lowes; the increase in DIY instructional magazines and videos; and the new DIY Network cable channel.

What has driven this phenomenon?  Where did it come from? Likely it originates out of the sense of accomplishment to be derived from ‘doing it yourself.’ It’s about taking ownership. It is about self-reliance. It’s also likely a bit ego driven.

For most people it is also about cost.

There is a belief that there are significant cost savings in doing things yourself.  However, I would wager that for every person that was able to pull off redoing their washroom at home there are far more who failed or ended up spending more personal time and money than anticipated.

The DIY retailers sell you the raw materials, the instructions and the tools to undertake a project but they are missing the most important ingredients of planning, experience and expertise.

Not everything can be DIY.

For example, you require an electrician to certify the work you have done or your home insurance may be null in void in the event of an electrical fire.

Similarly why put your organization at risk thinking that you can handle very technical components of your business, like HR. Anyone can handle the transactional aspect of HR such as benefit administration but it requires true experience and skill to handle a mass layoff or prevent a union drive from succeeding. HR is not a DIY.

4 thoughts on “The DIY Culture: Not for HR”

  1. What disturbs me the most are business owners who finally acknowledge they have a desperate need for an HR function (presumably because they have recognized there is a value in having the function) and then assign a person in the organization with no education or experience in HR to manage it (i.e. the Office Manager, Accounting Manager, etc.). Would you put an HR person in charge of your Finance department with no previous knowledge or expertise in the area of Finance and then expect that all will go well? How about your IT department or Plant Operations? My guess is no way!!

  2. What disturbs me the most are business owners who finally acknowledge they have a desperate need for an HR function (presumably because they have recognized there is a value in having the function) and then assign a person in the organization with no education or experience in HR to manage it (i.e. the Office Manager, Accounting Manager, etc.). Would you put an HR person in charge of your Finance department with no previous knowledge or expertise in the area of Finance and then expect that all will go well? How about your IT department or Plant Operations? My guess is no way!!

  3. You have hit the nail on the head….I don’t think that these guys and gals know the huge personal liability that they are taking on as executives particularly around HR based issues such as Health and Safety. Quite frankly, I don’t think that I would be sleeping well at all. The personal financial liability in the form of safety violation penalties and fines for example, just doesn’t stop at the executive office these days it flows down to the supervisory level and even the employee themselves. If I were an executive I would be assessing my potential personal risk and ensure that there is enough liability insurance in place. But more importantly I would want to make sure that have competent people running my HR.

  4. You have hit the nail on the head….I don’t think that these guys and gals know the huge personal liability that they are taking on as executives particularly around HR based issues such as Health and Safety. Quite frankly, I don’t think that I would be sleeping well at all. The personal financial liability in the form of safety violation penalties and fines for example, just doesn’t stop at the executive office these days it flows down to the supervisory level and even the employee themselves. If I were an executive I would be assessing my potential personal risk and ensure that there is enough liability insurance in place. But more importantly I would want to make sure that have competent people running my HR.

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