Whatcha gonna DO about it?

About a year ago, just after CIPD13, I wrote this post suggesting it was time for HR to “seize the day”. This week sees CIPD14 – where are we a year later?

On the positive side, there are lots of great discussions going on about where HR goes in the future – as an example #nzlead and its little brother “Unfurling HR” are continuing to provoke excellent debate and, just as importantly, bringing in a bigger group of HR professionals worldwide

But what I’m not seeing are the concrete examples of what people are doing. Now it may be that I’m missing them (in which case please feel free to provide a few links in the comments below), and I accept I’m just as guilty of “talking a good game” without necessarily providing evidence (watch this space over the coming weeks!). But my concern is that for many employees, the world of work is still mundane, overmanaged and a crap experience and that “HR” are those people who tell you not to do things. The fact that we’re still getting excited by Gary Hamel basically describing what Semco did 20 years ago is pretty telling that things haven’t moved forward that much

So where are the posts that tell me?

  • We’ve redesigned our recruitment processes to attract better people and improve the experience for all candidates
  • We have a really innovative approach to flexible working – here’s how we did it
  • We tried this new way of L&D – it didn’t quite work but here’s what we learned.

I don’t mean the sort of PR puff pieces that – thankfully – seem to be less common in People Management. In the brave new world of social media, I want to be able to say more often to those I interact with: “that’s really interesting – I’d like to try something similar with one of my clients. Can I talk to you about it?” Collaboration, sharing, disruption – all the buzzwords of social media – need to have one outcome for those of us in HR: Doing Good People Stuff (a phrase I’m happy to have socially collaborated from @HR_Gem!)

5 thoughts on “Whatcha gonna DO about it?

  1. Simon GREAT point you are making here. There ARE examples where stuff is happening. In fact; like you I am mad keen to hear about case studies and research showing people doing the great people stuff. I quote Valve; IDEO; Treehouse; Buurtzog; Matt Black; De Vita Healthcare; FAVI; Mind Valley; Mondragon; Just Giving; RHD, Sun Hydraulics, Heiligenfeld, Morning Star, AES and there are more. They are doing it. Read Frederic Laloux; MiX moonshots and hacks. Follow the World Blu movement. It is going on and the reason I wanted to get a UK Game Changer event going though is to locate more companies and HR prise “doing it.”

    Well said; great blog and I hope you enjoy looking up these companies.

    • Thanks Perry – I shall certainly research those companies. I’m familiar with Morning Star (not the Communist Newspaper!) but not the others.

      For anyone not on Twitter, Amanda Sterling of #nzlead fame has also pointed out a couple of examples:
      nzlead.com/diverse-workforces-a-competitive-advantage-for-all-new-zealand-businesses/ …

      nzlead.com/nzlead-preview-frucor-values-and-engagement/ …

      Another good reason to become acquainted with #nzlead if you’re not already

  2. ‘Mundane and overmanaged’ and no fun (my paraphrase of your more colourful and probably more apt description!). It is and yet the people still turn up and do the work which is a huge testament in my mind to their resilience and untapped potential. Why don’t more practitioners come forward and say ‘we did this and found that and now wonder if…..’ because it is scary and it isn’t the day job. If we genuinely want more collaboration and candid contributions to our working knowledge we need some brave souls to lead the way – like you and Perry and #nzlead and we need to actively appreciate the ones who share as that will encourage others to do the same.

    I was at the Association of Business Psychologists conference presenting some a case study of some culture and values mapping in a real organisation last month. I was amazed at how many of the other workshop presenters I spoke to were anxious in advance of the their sessions about whether they would be listened to, criticised, derided even for the ideas they were bringing to the table. So if we’ve got that going on in one relatively narrow ‘enlightened’ field in a three day event imagine how daunting waving a flag must feel across the territory of HR…….

  3. I know exactly where you are coming from Simon. I sat in the CIPD ‘fringe’ event of Neuroscience in HR. It’s all great. Very useful. It’s actually known to most HR/L&D people by now, but here was my concern… How many OTHER people in the organisation are aware of these concepts and what they mean for the way we work? Evidence suggests that HR is still too tied up in transactional stuff to really get these messages out to the business, AND does the business want to hear them when they are busy finding efficiencies, handling tough customers and working with ever diminishing resources? I think not.

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