Tuesday, 29 September 2009

HR: The Masters of Waffle

Reading through the otherwise excellent 2009 CIPD Recruitment, Retention and Turnover Survey this week drew to my attention the fact that as HR professionals, we don't half know how to waffle!

In the clearly crucial section on current attitudes to outsourcing, the report states:

Having a better resourcing capability in-house and regaining control of the employer brand and candidates' experience of the organisation are the main reasons for bringing resourcing activities back in-house.

OK, as a Graduate of the Dave Ulrich University of HR-speak, I can decode the text, but we seem (says he pretentiously, but at the same time establishing his philosophical credentials) to be drifting into a black hole of a Wittgensteinian language game where one has to be part of the inner circle merely to understand the conversation. Or (Warning! Dangerous suggestion ahead!) could it be that we're using such obfuscation to disguise the admission that we've made a strategic error on recruitment outsourcing?

Surely what the CIPD statement means is as follows:

The main reasons why many organisations are ditching their recruitment outsourcing arrangements are:

1. They believe that their own employees can do the job better than those of a third party.
2. They have realised that to outsource recruitment means you can't trust a third party to portray your company's image in the best light.
3. They consider that, where recruitment has been outsourced, applicants are confused about who they are communicating with.

Or is that just simplifying things too much?


  1. Why cant everyone keep it simple

  2. And what’s the betting that people who speak this way have been involved in arranging Plain English sessions in the various organisations/institutions they work for!!

    But then, who can blame HR professionals for feeling that, in order to be invited to be part of the board, they have to adopt the ‘business bollocks’ that most senior execs speak. Guess we all work on the principle of ‘if you can’t bet them, join them’!

    Must go – off the build a ‘straw man’!


  3. Great comments so far!

    I'm reminded of a wonderful comment that a management consultant once said to me which perfectly describes the difficulty of telling someone that they've got it wrong: "There's no polite way of telling someone that their baby is ugly!"