Not too long ago, I was at an HR event with HR speakers. It was a good event, well attended, but there was something that really bothered me. It kept showing up in the fine lines between the big ideas. It showed up shod in steel-toed boots with pointy heels, when comfortable shoes would have been better. The irritant can sound different—can use different words– but is ultimately the same in a distressing way.
What is this bothersome thing?Now I might get some HR noses out of joint, because this bothersome thing is a common habit. It’s a common habit of people in HR. It’s a common habit of people in leadership roles. Its commonness makes it seem less insidious than it is. So when I criticize, please know that I do this out of love for people and that includes the people who do the work of HR. Please STOP referring to the people of your business using labels that dehumanize. What do I mean?
- People aren’t TALENT. Talent is something people have. Something people offer to a business.
- People aren’t CAPITAL. Capital is a form of wealth. It’s created through the energy and ideas of people.
- People aren’t the PIPELINE, or the RESOURCES, or the WORKFORCE, or LABOR, or whatever other clever neologism we create next.