• IT companies have the worst HR departments, survey finds

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  • 7 Aug 2017
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Results come as memo from Google engineer claims ‘biological differences’ are to blame for lack of women in tech

IT firms have the least effective HR departments, according to a new survey based on staff feedback.

The study by workplace feedback platform ViewsHub, based on the opinions of 50,000 employees, found that HR departments in technology companies were given an average effectiveness score of 2.66 out of five from their fellow employees. The score rated HR departments’ ability to get things done, how technically good they are at their job and how responsive they are to other teams’ queries. Tech firms’ HR teams fell far short of the average of 3.45 across the 11 sectors examined, and were the only HR teams to receive an average score below three.

Ab Banerjee, chief executive of ViewsHub, urged people managers to get toknow what employees think”.

“It is essential that managers and leadership teams have access to this type of feedback data for their organisations so they can act on it,” said Banerjee. “HR departments might say they feel sidelined by tech firms, but they also have to take responsibility for this data, and act accordingly. For whatever reason, employees have developed the perception that HR departments aren't responding to their concerns. HR departments in tech firms might want to launch engagement schemes to try to correct this. 

Google has recently come under fire in the US for its handling of a discrimination case concerning wages. The search engine giant said it was too financially burdensome and logistically challenging to hand over salary records requested in the case, brought by the Department of Labor, which has accused the tech giant of “systemic” underpayment of female staff.

And, over the weekend, a memo from a Google software engineer that blamed “biological differences” for the lack of women in its top jobs was published by tech website Gizmodo. The 10-page document argued that the underrepresentation of women in the technology sector is not caused by bias and discrimination, adding: “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.” It went on to say that women tend to be more interested in “people rather than things”, and therefore typically prefer jobs in social or artistic industries rather than coding.

Google is not the only tech company to have its people management called into question. Uber has faced sustained criticism over its handling of its drivers’ employment status in the UK. The taxi-hailing app lost a tribunal last year, which ruled that its minicab drivers should be entitled to workers’ rights including holiday and sick pay. The company has lodged an appeal, which is scheduled to be heard next month.

 

Meanwhile, Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick stood down as chief executive in June following pressure from the company’s other investors. Just one week earlier, a report by former US attorney general Eric Holder’s law firm had been published, outlining a myriad ways the company could improve its culture following a lengthy investigation into allegations of harassment, discrimination and retaliation at the organisation.

 

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  • How did we get from IT firms being perceived to being ineffective in terms of their HR departments to alleged gender discrimination cases? Talk about crow-barring in a gender issue.

    For this 'research' to have some validity it would be interesting how any corporate supporting department e.g. Finance, legal etc is viewed in the IT industry compared to elsewhere.

    As for gendered roles, not seen many articles in PM looking to get more men into teaching or other female dominated industries.

    And PM wonders why the HR profession is so female dominated. Probably due to articles like this.