At Amazon and other big tech businesses that have led the way in shedding staff, the HR teams were among the first to be cut. By definition a company does not need as many people to do “onboarding” when it is trying to employ fewer people.
One analysis suggests that HR functions account for only 10 per cent of this year’s tech industry layoffs but because HR departments are relatively small, this means that half of the HR jobs in those companies may have been cut.
‘EXISTENTIAL DILEMMAS’ SURROUNDING HR
Remember that these include groups such as Meta, whose corporate culture and generous benefits were once the envy of other workplaces. The owner of Facebook is now feeling less munificent, reportedly cutting back coveted perks such as free dry cleaning.
As the FT’s Working It podcast put it recently, the “existential dilemmas” that surround HR reflect a broader air of uncertainty surrounding our workplaces today. But if HR is overwhelmed, perhaps it is time for it to do less.
The core functions of recruiting, engaging and developing the best employees are not about to become less important. That said, there have been too many instances of mission creep among these corporals in the war for talent.
As less exciting companies pursued the elusive goal of staff engagement by trying to make every office park a pastiche of the Google headquarters or Facebook campus, there has been a boom in the more superficial end of the corporate wellness industry.
It is something to be celebrated that two out of three US employers see their workers’ wellbeing as one of their top health priorities over the coming years, according to a Willis Towers Watson survey.