The department within a corporate entity tasked with hiring, firing, sexual harassment investigation, babysitting, paying, tracking benefits and, in general, dealing with employees in ways that management finds tedious or unsavory.

The term indicates that people are resources not unlike office supplies, furniture, buildings, or property.

In the movie "The Matrix" we see the concept carried to its logical conclusion: people bred and harvested for the electric charge they produce as a biproduct of, well, living.

A career path developed for people who like people. As one moves further along said path, this initial inspiration for choosing the field of work is gradually snuffed out altogether.

Though Human Resources departments (known until the 1980's as "Personnel" departments, whereupon the corporate world adopted the newer moniker) continually speak of their role as strategic business partners with their clients, they inevitably are seen by said corporate leadership as a transactional, service-oriented necessary evil.

Known as "HR" to people in the biz.

Known, alternately, as "the Gestapo," "Payroll," or simply "Them" by employees.

Generalist knowledge of the field consists of the following components: Strategic Management, Workforce Planning and Employment (to consist of the Recruiting or Staffing function of the organization), Training and Development, Compensation and Benefits (to consist of the Payroll function of the organization), Employee Relations and Labor Relations, and Occupational Health, Safety and Security.

Human Resources departments in smaller organizations may consist of only one employee, generally a Human Resources Manager. Organizations may generally grow to about 50 employees prior to requiring a dedicated Human Resources Manager whose primary functions will likely be recruiting, new hire orientations, payroll and benefits. Industry standard would add an additional member to the department when the employee population reaches the benchmarks of 100, 150, 200, and additional members for each 100 employees, thereafter.

Larger, more mature organizations will generally have staff dedicated to specific human resources functions, including (but not necessarily limited to) Recruiting, Compensation, Payroll and Benefits, Employee Relations and Training.

Skilled Human Resources professionals will generally have an esoteric comprehension of any applicable federal and/or state employment laws. In the United States, these laws include the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Human Resources is a French film that explores the difficulties that arise between father (Jean-Claude Vallod), a factory worker, and son (Jalil Lespert), a business school graduate who interns at the Human Resources department in his father’s company.

This extraordinary film begins with an ordinary scene. As father and son sit at the table, discussing Franck’s (the son) upcoming interview for the HR internship, we encounter a short yet humorous dialogue. “You’ve gotta prepare for the interview” Franck’s father says. Staring sheepishly from under his glasses, the old man gives his son advice on how to make a good impression and insists despite Frank’s many reassurances, that he listen to his suggestions. “Stop it dad, you are making me nervous,” Franck responds laughing.

But it is precisely such ordinary scenes that express the tension between father and son at the crux of the film. The two do not discuss how they feel about their each other or have any direct confrontations until the end. On the contrary, the viewer infers it through short encounters and mundane dialogue. This style creates intimacy between the viewer and the characters. We feel like we are directly observing their life rather than watching a dramatized version of it on the screen.

Their encounters at work provide a glimpse of how their divide in status - him a confident manager, the father, a humble worker - strain their personal relations. We begin to see this from Franck’s first day in his new position. When the father proudly escorts his son to show him his work environment, Franck is ashamed. He follows him hesitantly, looks on silently, and leaves quickly. Franck’s feeling of shame is also revealed in the scene in which he dines with the executives at the company cafeteria. His father, sitting with fellow workers, gazes at him with admiration and jealousy, while Franck avoids locking eyes with him.

The tension between father and son is magnified when Franck sets out to resolve a conflict between union and management. With the wellbeing of the workers in mind, Frank suggests a new shorter 35-hour workweek and conducts a survey to determine the workers’ approval for the idea. At first, he is convinced the project is a success and invites his father to dine at a restaurant to celebrate. But he is no longer excited when later in the same day he finds out that management plans to use the results of his survey to fire a group of workers, including his own father. The dinner, anything but festive to Franck, becomes one of the most ironic and poignant scenes in the movie. While his father toasts his for his success, Frank clinks the glass with guilt in his eyes.

After Frank’s father learns that he will be fired, chaos ensues and father and son are pitted against each other in a battle that involves the fate of the whole company. A lot of harsh words are said and unspoken feelings percolate to the surface. But the climax works precisely because it uncovers what was alluded to but hardly exposed throughout the movie. And by the time it is, it feels astonishing. It’s as if after being blindfolded for a very long time, we become stunned when our freed eyes are suddenly struck by light. And it’s that moment of revelation that makes the movie an amazing experience.

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