Do We Really Need Women of HR?

This guest post is authored by Tim Sacket, SPHR. Tim is the EVP of HRU Technical Resources in Lansing, MI. Tim loves everything talent acquisition and believes every corporate recruitment department in America can and must get better. 

Women of  HR. Really?

When did we get to a point in our society when the majority thought it was a good idea to start a specialty group and brand themselves as a minority?

The only thing women in HR are minorities of is, maybe, a paycheck. Ouch. That one probably hit a little too close to home and my wife said I’d better be nice on this piece.

Seriously, I think Women of HR is almost the anti-SHRM in that they are a collection of mostly women that get HR.  The Women of HR get the business of HR and how to use the people practices of their organization to drive organizational results – not just HR results.

Men Of and In HR

You know what might work out really well?  Men of HR. Oh wait, that didn’t go to0 well the first time around and might be the single most disturbing (and at the same time the single funniest) HR related activity by HR “pros”  that I’ve ever seen. The Men of HR is what happens when you put men in charge of trying to put together a voice of a minority group in the HR world – a miserable failure.

What actually might work is for the Women of HR to start a “brother” group, ran by women, who just tell the men what to write and say. It’s probably closer to the reality of what actually happens to most male HR pros in their lives anyway.

Words of Advice

One small word of advice to the Women of HR, if you’re going to jump –  jump all the way.

Lose the dudes and  embrace all that is female. You’re women,  you’re in HR and that’s what we want to hear. We don’t want to hear from a dude who wants to write about what women might think they’d like him to say.

Put up more posts on chocolate and cats and Dancing with the Stars.  I want to see posts on why the day after the Dancing with the Stars final airs is the best day to hire. That’s riveting stuff.

Actually, I take back what I said above. You need one guy to allow you to say crap about men but play it off like you’re just bantering with the one male writing member on staff (perception is reality) and my advice is that you get a guy so emasculated that it’s almost like having another chick on staff . Not one like the Diet Coke guy but one more like Perez Hilton with some HR background. Sorry, I’m too busy to accept. (Actually, I’m not too busy – my wife just won’t let me.)

Keep Up The Fight

Remember, keep branding yourself as a minority in the majority world. People really don’t pay attention so it will work. Please, no Women of HR calendars. The last thing we need is to see Laurie Ruettimann with cats covering certain parts on the month of February. And skip all the dudes  – except one.

Keep fighting the man and by the “man” I mean the 7% of male HR counterparts you have in the industry.

Photo credit iStockphoto

About the Author

a Guest Contributor

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Corey Feldman

I’m with China on this one. I get that it was meant to be tongue in cheek, but reading it made me uncomfortable and not in a good (question your assumptions kinda) way. When an industry is predominantly composed of woman, and woman are still vastly underrepresented in power positions, it spotlights a far greater issue.

Lisa Rosendahl

The theme of the day is “jump in” and if we are going to jump, let’s do it with both feet and a wild hoot. Tim, super post. Shaun, man-bag? Really? Charlie, jump in! Ann, that’s one eye opening and sobering fact. China, that’s a wonderful idea and a stellar list – with one minor tweak . . . adding you.

China Gorman

Tim: I get that your tongue was planted firmly in your cheek as your wrote this. And I would never want to be accused of lacking a sense of humor. But until 93% of Fortune 500 CHROs are female, there is definitely a place for Women of HR! So I especially agree with your advice to jump in all the way (or “go all in” as we say in Vegas). It would be a real service if this site and its authors began a movement to support women on their way up to the top in HR. Have you thought of identifying really senior women in HR to guest blog? People like Libby Sartain (now on the board of Manpower), Jean Halloran (CHRO at Agilent Technologies), Lisa B. Peters (CHRO at Bank of New York Mellon), Eva Sage Gavin (CHRO at the Gap) and others might really appreciate the opportunity to provide coaching and guidance. Just a thought…

Tim Sackett

Ladies (and Charlie) –

Thanks for the comments: honestly I love the group of HR Pros and writers you have assembled, but had to take my shot at poking some fun of the obvious. Ann particulary points out a more distubing fact in HR, and leadership in general, while most practioners of HR are female (that’s a fact) – more HR executives are male. If I’m The Women of HR – I’m tackling these types of issues.

As we focus on retaining talent, creating better work environments, building productive teams, etc. The women of HR can help females specifically manage the executive terrain of how to muster enough influenece in a male dominated c-suite to move their agendas forward, and eventually be the ones in the c-suite driving the decisions. We’re not there yet, but getting closer each day.

Thanks again for allowing me to play in your backyard,

Shauna Moerke

Tim, you always manage to make me giggle, even when I think I should probably be upset at you or something. 🙂 Now, women may be the dominate gender in HR, but by no means do I think that makes us the ones in control. Is that our fault? Are the men of the world holding us back? Both? All I know is that despite our overwhelming numbers in HR, there needed to be more resources for women not only in HR, but in the business world as a whole. And since it’s harmful to exclude voices, especially ones with different experiences and backgrounds, you *ahem* for instance, we didn’t want to exclude men. But you do make a great point that we shouldn’t try to be everything to everyone. I think our site would benefit from some more focus and hopefully that is something Lisa, Trish and I will be able to work on moving forward. Thanks for the post, please contribute again!


There’s an old song, “Killing Me Softly”.

There’s an old expression “Bowl Me Over”.

Odd that you just killed me softly while the rockin Women of HR regularly bowl me over. Or is it vice versa?

BTW–long live Mike!

Seriously, I know a photographer (an amazing but disgruntled former HR professional) who would be willing to do the Men of HR calendar shoot. Maybe Laurie will loan some of you her cats for the shoot.

Thanks for your post!

Ann Farrell


Coming to my HR oppotunity after a full career on the Operations side, I was very excited to finally be able to have the chance to enjoy the company of women. Imagine my surprise when I attended my first HR Executive Roundtable and found myself once again, the only woman!
So if it is only 7%, at least in the Manufacturing industry, I know where most of them are sitting! Jumping all the way is the only way to shake things up!


Wow… all this time I thought Men of HR was an urban legend like leprechauns riding unicorns and Mr Rogers- sniper assassin. How did I not know this??

My eyes cannot unsee this…

Trish McFarlane

Tim, you’re a rock star. When I first read your post several weeks ago, I thought this was one that has potential to shake things up. It’s been interesting to start something like Women of HR then have men vying to be part of it. You know me, I’m the nice, nurturing type (sometimes) so I tend not to exclude the boys. Thanks for saying we don’t need a calendar. Believe me, we’ve been asked but I don’t see Lisa, Shauna, me, or any other contributor posing with only a computer hiding the naughty bits. 🙂

Feel free to contribute again, or not. I can guarantee the male contributors won’t go away. Just glad for your support.


Hilarious post! I especially liked the “brother group” and the closing sentence:

“Keep fighting the man and by the “man” I mean the 7% of male HR counterparts you have in the industry.”

I still think that in HR it’s the men who are the minority. But I don’t mind. Where else could I work with so many talented, competent and often even gorgeous women 😉

Charlie Judy

Tim, only u could write this post. I would get myself into so much trouble it would be the end of my career – in this and any other profession. As long as the underlying objective is to promote our profession and to throw the spotlight on those “who get it,” I don’t care I fit’s the “Pyromaniacs of HR.” And I’m proud to call these women my colleagues, even if they are excluding me from their fun and games.


Tim- Nice post. Thanks for supporting the Women of HR. We have BIG voices,and a lot to say. Hope your week is great!


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