Magazine article Management Today

WEAK AT THE TOP: John Weak's Diary

Magazine article Management Today

WEAK AT THE TOP: John Weak's Diary

Article excerpt


As our weirdo HR director is just a tired old hippy, we've got in a smooth new HR manager called Michael Gabriel. He's a career HR professional (which means he hasn't had a career) and he's so touchy-feely you feel coached when he walks past you in the corridor. He's already learned everyone's first name and uses it approximately four times a minute. Bill Peters has somehow persuaded him that his first name is Vernon and we all piss ourselves every time he breezes past and says to Bill: 'How's it going, Vernon?' Usually, when someone new arrives in HR we get an initiative on including people in the same way that when we get someone new in Finance we get an initiative on sacking people.


First signs of activity from the angel Gabriel. Sir Marcus announced we should be raising the bar on inclusivity. I pointed out that this would make it extremely difficult for those in a wheelchair. He gave me one of his bonus-shrivelling looks. We basically have to include everyone who, for good reasons, has decided to steer well clear of us as an organisation. Getting them into Smokehouse is harder than pulling in new customers, and for the same reason: they know they'll get a much better deal elsewhere. Had a long lunch with Vernon in Mr Bojangles, where we turned a great deal of wine into water and agreed that men permanently stuck in HR are more than likely to be dancing at the other end of the ballroom.


Sir Marcus (ie, the archangel Gabriel) has demanded that all departments audit their gender mix, which is a bit of a busman's holiday for me, as I spend most of my waking hours auditing our gender mix, especially the ones with decent charlies. We have lots of women in marketing, but generally at the junior babe level. When their necks start to get leathery we send them to operations, where looks don't matter because you're generally covered head to foot in engine oil. …

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