I looked up the definition of Human Resources today and I got soup to nuts and didn't run into the same one twice. So, using my own brain after reading the various definitions I encountered, I filtered out the fluff and cobbled together my own definition:
The strategic and coherent approach towards management of an organization's human capital
Short, sweet, open to a world of interpretation. Whether you like my definition or another one you subscribe to, social services and mental health professions are different BLS Standard Occupational Classifications (SOC). HR professions are SOC 13-1070 under the parent SOC group 13-0000 Business and Financial Operations Occupations.
Do you see where we work? Business and Financial Operations Occupations.
If I would have chosen to work in human resources because I wanted to help people my priorities would have been mixed up and I would have made a poor choice. Perhaps you think that sounds cold hearted. But what should the focus be for a human resources practitioner? It seems clear to me that it is to ensure the profitability of the company through the management of its human capital.
Why do some of us get wrapped up in employees' problems, think we are their parent, think we have to "take care" of them, think we have a responsibility to help them live their lives and even solve their personal problems?
Do some of us pursue a career in human resources for the wrong reasons?
Do a quick self assessment to check- you know, kind of like taking your temperature with a thermometer, to contemplate if you contribute to or enable the unhealthiness of a sick work environment or even help create one with a lopsided view or bad definition of your role in human resources.
If you find you have a fever, head on over to Free management Library's The Free Micro-eMBA(SM) for treatment.
Image: Confusion by Adi Ron (2005) licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license