Vocational education and training (VET) institutions face serious challenges, like educational innovations and upcoming teacher shortages, which require them to invest in their human capital. However, the implementation of human resources (HR) policies and practices often stagnates. Using the Dutch VET sector as an exemplary case, we show that the implementation gap can be understood by employing a discourse perspective. The distinction between a control vs. a commitment approach to HR served as a lens through which we analysed how actors at state and school level perceived the goals, necessity and features of HR policy. The results reveal no contradictions between actors concerning the goal of HR. Contradictions are, however, found related to the way in which HR should be shaped and implemented. Teachers and managers think governments’ view about HR is too much control oriented and that commitment strategies have to be added for HR to be effective.