HR's world is ending. Quick, Toto! Hide in the shed! Image: Shutterstock

Monday 26th October 2015

Apocalypse how

What could spell the end of the world for HR?

As we narrowly escape yet another Apocalypse (those Four Horsemen have terrible timekeeping), there’s never been a better time to consider our continued survival. While we bask in the sunny afterglow of still being alive, what are the possible disastrous events that could mean the end of HR as we know it?

Humanity picks up its game

Perhaps the scariest prospect of all: people evolve far enough that HR is no longer needed. We all get along like some rainbow drenched children’s cartoon and have a wonderful time at work. Singing and holding hands will probably be mandatory.

Employee relations? All perfect. Comp & Bens? Everybody works for love and friendship, and money was abolished long ago. Everybody manages their own talent just fine, and take every opportunity to develop themselves and learn.

Basically, a nightmare. We pray that death claims us before that day comes. The fire and brimstone option looks positively inviting in comparison.


A perennial horror favourite. HR is especially vulnerable to this apocalyptic scenario: it will find it especially difficult to distinguish regular employees from zombie employees, which presents a survival risk.

Indeed, because of their inherent goodness HR people may be likely to go over and intervene if they see people groaning and biting one another, rather than run away screaming.

Robots take over

As countless articles testify, HR is afraid that robots might come and take their jobs. Sure, it’s possible. But we think the human touch that (some of) HR has makes it one of the least likely jobs to be robotised.

Nobody has yet caught on (except us, we’re smart like that) that perhaps everybody else will get replaced instead. But when that happens, HR’s humanity is going to look a little out of place amongst the cold metal automatons without compassion or emotion, so it’ll still be curtains for the industry.

The collapse of law and order into anarchy

How can you enforce rules when there are no rules? If you’ve seen Mad Max and have heard of global warming, you’ll know that we’ll soon enough be living in a desert wasteland where the only viable currencies are petrol and bullets.

HR will probably have to change drastically in order to survive, possibly forming a gang of desert-dwelling bloodthirsty bandits. The gang symbol would probably be an assortment of skull and bones with the words ‘Human Remains’.

Hey, just because it’s the end of the world doesn’t mean you’ll lose your sense of humour.

Meteor strike

HRmageddon. Unless you’re tougher than a T-rex, a meteor would probably wipe the slate clean and revert human society back to fire, rocks and leopard print fashion.

Surprisingly, although all recognisable work will be destroyed, this may not signal the end of HR. Intra-tribal conflicts may need the finer arts of HR mediation. The best practice guidelines scrawled in mammoth blood in the CIPD cave will likely read: ‘u do bad, u get club’.

It will be a simpler time, a better time.

About the author

Jerome Langford

Jerome is a graduate in Philosophy from St Andrews, who alternately spends time writing about HR and staring wistfully out of windows, thinking about life’s bigger questions: Why are we here? How much lunch is too much lunch? What do you mean exactly by ‘final warning’?