Last Wednesday, Human Resources was mentioned in class when discussing Zone One by Colson Whitehead, along with what purpose a Human Resource Department serves. From my summer job, I worked in an office that had a Human Resource Department of one staff member.
My encounters with the Human Resources professional were minimal except for the daily ‘good morning’ as I walked past her to my desk. I know that part of Human Resources job is to hire people, because she was one of the people who interviewed me for the job, and that she updates people’s addresses when they move. I have heard from other employees that the Human Resources professional is involved in the firing process and team building meetings however, after researching more about Human Resource Departments I found that Human Resource professionals have many responsibilities within a company.
In the article “What Does a Human Resources Manager, Generalist, or Director Do?” by Susan M. Heathfield, the job description of Human Resource professionals are described. The responsibilities of a Human Resource professional include: team building, hiring, training, recruiting, salary and benefit managing, employee communications and relations, coaching and organizational development (Heathfield 7). The responsibilities of an HR professional depend on the size and needs of an organization (Heathfield 7). The SUNY Geneseo Human Resource staff is composed of 10 staff members, located on the SUNY Geneseo website. Although I cannot provide much insight to what the department does on a personal level, each staff member’s job description can also be found on the SUNY Geneseo website.
As I redirect my post back to Zone One by Colson Whitehead, I wonder what Whitehead’s motive for including the Human Resources department as the reader’s first encounter with infected people. Whitehead could have introduced the reader to the infected HR department because Human Resources seems to be at the heart of every business. Without an HR department, business would not have employees with sufficient training, and could struggle with effective communication strategies between employees, potentially leading to a failed business. The reference to Human Resources that Whitehead makes, could be an emphasis on the disorder in Mark Spitz’s life that he is experiencing throughout the novel. Throughout the book Whitehead makes social commentaries, and it is possible that he is using an ineffective Human Resources department to show the power that they have in a business success and decline.