In a sometimes ruthless world of work, caught between management and employees, human resources are on the front line. Some HR managers break down and denounce illegal practices in their companies, as the 20h Eye tells you.
A few weeks ago, Charlotte left her HR position in a Parisian startup. During recruitment, she could no longer stand the pressure from her boss to, she says, increasingly reduce costs: “The first position that was sought was students, she remembers. It is preferred because an intern or work-study student is inexpensive“.
Interns to do the work of employees… and for more experienced candidates, permanent contract promises not always honored: “Candidates contacted me when they saw an offer for a permanent contract, I communicated with them on the principle of the permanent contract by asking them their salary expectations. As soon as I presented the applications, the first question from the CEO was ‘is it possible to freelance?’. It put me off the job and today I ask myself a lot of questions about this position.“, explains Charlotte, who is giving herself time to find out if she wants to stay in this sector.
Disguised economic layoffs
A loss of meaning, instructions that some no longer accept. Disagreeing with his superiors, an HR director entrusted us with the recording of a conversation with his boss, president of a global consulting giant. Bluntly, she asks him to fire around a hundred people… those least comfortable with digital tools. without going through a social plan; too expensive and too restrictive in his eyes:
(Manager) “Why didn’t I want to make a social plan? Because I didn’t want to have all my young digital people who are going to leave and keep all the old ones for me. I choose the people I make leave. So the most …in minus quotes…
(Manager) “Here are the least efficient or those who correspond least well to what we want to do with the company which is now very automated, very platform, very tech.”
The manager even goes so far as to suggest to HR to invent reasons for dismissal:
(Manager) “Why don’t we apply incapacity to a person who is two years from retirement? Because she is not at all digital… We could go through occupational medicine… Finally, I ‘I don’t know, I think you have to be creative!’
(HRD) “We are going to attack a population that does not want to leave…”
(Manager) “And to have files that are a little tough since the employee is a little… limited on what he delivers. Putting together files… we have six months ahead of us there.”
The HR director, a simple executor?
Until the 1970s, this position was still called “personnel director”… but with the liberalization of the economy… it became “human resources manager”. A change of name which would have gradually transformed the function… Today 82% of HR managers declare themselves to be on the verge of exhaustion (Source: Payfit Barometer, Tissot editions, 2022)
In SMEs, large groups…some tell us about their discomfort when they witness discrimination…
Laurence, automotive HR director: “It really goes against my values. It’s not just racism against blacks or Arabs. It’s also against fat people, women who have children. There are women who don’t get promotions or financial advancement because they take care of their children.”
Also unease among some regarding arrangements with labor law.
Anne, HR director in the agri-food industry: “All the sheets exceeded 12 hours per day. So obviously the inspection had come to check all that. And if we had given that, the company would have had a very big penalty, it’s illegal work. We were asked to falsify the documents. It’s against my values.”
An Anglo-Saxon culture of human resources
Few people dare to speak publicly about the behind the scenes of this profession. Didier Bille has been HR director for 20 years. He tells him about what would have become, he says, a sector on its last legs, faced with the excesses of certain companies: “Today in human resources, the culture is Anglo-Saxon, the methods are Anglo-Saxon: pragmatic and effective. Are we not destroying the bond that binds employees to their companies? Today I say: “yes, we are destroying the social bond”, says Didier Bille, HR director and author of “DRH, the grinding machine” (editions of Cherche-midi).
Faced with latent frustration among HR managers… representatives of the profession say they take the phenomenon seriously. “Indeed, you can feel alone in this profession.recognizes Audrey Richard, president of the National Association of HR Directors (ANDRH). We proposed, and it has existed for several years, a psychological helpline so that HR managers can communicate in complete confidentiality. “.
The association has set up discussion and discussion groups throughout France for its 5,600 HR members… Enough to perhaps combat the vocations crisis.