Einstein said, ‘we cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them’. This is never truer than when thinking about HR. Traditional, outdated HR thinking, and action just doesn’t deliver in a rapidly changing and unpredictable world of work.
What would HR look like if it was invented today?
Here are ten ways HR can change for the better in my view:
- Be people-centred, not process driven
- Start from the position that team members and managers are trusted as adults rather than the ‘parent/child’ attitude that is often expressed
- Adopt a ‘prevention rather than cure’ mindset
- Never be a substitute for poor management, if managers cannot manage effectively, coach them to improve. People solutions should always rest with the manager, with HR guidance
- Less work on compliance, and fear of employment tribunals, and more genuine care for the people in the organisation itself
- Reset the focus on culture development, coaching and building psychological safety, the most important trust-building work you’ll ever do
- Do away with punitive or draconian internal measures and policies, they serve to frustrate the overwhelming majority who just want to do a good job
- Truly, and deeply listen to the people in your organisation without judgment. And if you think you’ve listened enough, go out and do some more!
- Be bold, do not accept any form of mediocrity – be the catalyst for wider change in the organisation as a true force for good
- Become truly human champions, use every interaction to reinforce humanity and recognition for the unique human beings that contribute to making your organisation what it is
HR can and should be much more than an internal organisation’s police force. Too often HR work is reduced to bureaucratic rule enforcement. The world is changing rapidly, and HR needs to change with it, or risk becoming obsolete.
What do you think about the ten suggested HR changes, are these things happening inside your organisation? Is politics in your organisation getting in the way? Is the HR department itself getting in the way?
HR, when practiced along the lines I’m suggesting, can be a powerful force for good. It can be an enabling force to build a culture and environment for people to flourish. What is good for people, is also good for business.