Business Jargon 101 – Human Resources


We decided to go for lunch yesterday. We do that on Sundays quite often – a spot of lunch in Dundee, followed by a wee bit of shopping. It’s a relaxed way to spend the afternoon, and undoubtedly there will be coffee involved later on.

Our choice for yesterday’s lunch was Avery on South Tay Street. It’s one of our favourite restaurants in the City – the food is fabulous, the atmosphere always just right and the service is spot on.

We parked at Greenmarket and walked up. As we were passing the Rep, I noticed that one of the windows on the other side of the street had some graphics for a local business. I’ll save their blushes, but the words that jumped out at me were ‘Human Resources Consultants’.

I hate that term – Human Resources. It really bothers me. It feels so cold and calculating. Like we have ‘Robot Resources’ just down the corridor (that’s already a ‘Thing’ by the way!). Resources that are there to be put to use at the whim of the corporation. They could be materials, stationery or machinery. Things.

For me it shows a complete lack of empathy and care for the individual. For the person. Because every one of those ‘human resources’ is a person. Someone’s daughter, sister, mother, aunt, friend. Someone with feelings, hobbies, ambitions, stories, a life to be lived.

They’re not a Resource! Can you tell that it really gets on my tits?

So what should we call them? I guess a good starting point would be ‘people’. Just by changing the language, we can begin to change the culture. We need to value our people, more than ever. Care for them, invest in them, develop them, help them to live the lives they want to live. Not treat them like inanimate objects.

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Business Jargon 101 – Human Resources

  1. Totally agree how impersonal ‘human resources’ sounds. People aren’t commodities. However, I’m not a great fan of ‘talent management’ as an alternative. It sounds like it’s trying a bit too hard, and It conjures up visions of tap dancers and acrobats for me!

    1. Haha, yes I agree with that Denise. I’d like to see a title with the word ‘people’ in it, but I’m not sure what that should be……

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