HR – smile, it’s a start.

Just when you need inspiration for a blog it pops right up in front of you. I saw this on twitter as one of the many photos from the #cipdldshow posted by @dds180 and it manage to encapsulate for me what HR (catch all title for people stuff, no silos or in fighting in this blog) is all about.

For too long now I have witnessed HR as a miserable, moaning, whining and victim like set of people. You will have heard it at conferences, seminars and the like spouting such stuff as “why aren’t we on the top table” – “line managers are awful” – “we need to be part of the business”, moan, moan whinge, whinge.

From my perspective HR comes from the view that “employees are on the take” and therefore it is our job to ensure they don’t get away with it. So they create policy after policy to ensure those pesky employees are controlled and punished if they dare to break rank.

Think about it. We can’t trust our staff to dress properly so we need a Dress Code (beyond belief!!), we can’t trust our staff to use social media so we need a policy, we can’t trust staff to behave so we need a 40 page disciplinary policy that lists all bad behaviour, we can’t trust staff to do their jobs so we create a 50 page performance management policy and hours and hours of classroom training that most sensible managers try to avoid! I could go on and on and on but you get the picture, right?

I recently read a blog called “What would HR policies look like if they were based on giving?” by Lynda Gratton @lyndagratton and it really struck a chord with me. HR people do see employees as the enemy that need to be controlled with policies and procedures.

I recently told my team that we could probably burn 90% of the policies we have. There were a few gasps and a few nervous smiles until they realised I was actually serious. I would ask any HR person to look at their policies and procedures and a) count them (that’s usually enough to make you gasps!) b) count which ones are created from a lack of trust in employees and then c) decide which ones you could do without. And if you are really brave d) destroy the ones you don’t need.

So how about if we viewed our role, as David suggest 1. Be happy. 2. Be Awesome. 3. Help others be 1 & 2. Can you imagine the shift not just in ourselves but in how others perceive us? People start inviting you to the right meetings, people ask your opinion, you are in at the beginning not the end and most importantly you are valued not just for your HR skills and expertise but for your general skills and expertise, basically you are valued as a human being. Who wouldn’t want that?

How do I know it works – well my most favourite (and frequent) bit of feedback is “you aren’t like a normal HR person”.

Get it?

One last bit of advice – HR people are employees too – so do you trust yourself or are you on the take too?