The recent Banking Royal Commission report raises significant questions about the role of the Human Resources and how HR technology could have been used to spot inappropriate work patterns and behaviours. This is where technology and human behaviour intersect and it is why we must have ethicists at the table with technologists developing such software in the beginning debating human behaviour and 'what if' scenarios.
The release of the Australia Banking Royal Commission’s report has laid bare the pervasive toxic cultures seemingly present in most of our financial institutions. And as we all know, changing culture is a slow process, thus it is likely to take years for the cultural clean up to be complete.
While some senior executives are rightly paying the ultimate price for their direct or indirect approval and support of business practices which rode roughshod over customers and whose “greed mantra” blinded acceptable moral and ethical standards, the elephant in the room is: where was the Chief HR Officer in all of this? And was their voice actually heard if they did indeed raise concerns?
The whole Banking Royal Commission begs the question as to why such behaviour could continue over many years without being called out and exposed at the board and shareholder level. Modern HR practices extend beyond employees and infiltrate the customer and societal fabric, so playing the “It’s not my territory” card by the Head of HR in these organisations is a dereliction of duty.
Even if these behaviours were hidden in operational activity, which the Chief HR Officer is not directly involved, it’s highly unlikely that every single employee was supporting obvious wrongdoing or participating in activities contrary to their personal moral and ethical standing.