Looking for HR? Try Room 101

Room 101 was originally introduced in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, and is now commonly used to refer to a place where unpleasant things are placed and kept. I suspect many people would put HR into Room 101 in its entirety given the opportunity. However, I’m not that radical. Instead, I’m just going to focus on the things that frustrate me about our profession that I would like to see eradicated. So here’s my list of things I would put in Room 101, my little dose of tongue in cheek frustration and drawing a line in the sand. I am sure many of you will recognise these little irritations, annoyances and frustrations and relate to where I’m coming from. I hope so.

So, going into Room 101 would be:

– Global reports/studies outlining everything that’s wrong with HR and how we aren’t strategic. The latest I read had Ulrich as a contributor. Isn’t this the HR you wished for, Dave? Or does saying this stuff keep you in conference speeches and books for another ten years?
– The debate about why HR doesn’t have a “seat at the table.” Just do your effing job to the best of your ability and focus on delivering the best HR outcomes that you possibly can. Influence comes through delivery.
– Analysis of where HR business partnering has gone wrong.
– Thought pieces that tell us the key to a successful workplace is staff engagement and that this has to be measured. So the success or otherwise of a company now comes down to a random score that can’t really be quantified?
– Pictures of a “cool, best place to work” offices that show people playing pool and gaming. It’s standard kit out these days people. It doesn’t make you an employer of choice. Allowing people to work from home doesn’t either. And no, it doesn’t make you “just like Google.”

It's just balls really...
It’s just balls really…
– Articles about Gen Y and how they are different. Yawn.
– Articles on the war for talent and how it’s getting tougher.
– Self-appointed experts telling us HR need to “broaden our skill set.”
– Reports that tell me the biggest issue facing HR is productivity. So we’ll just add “magician” to our already varied job description shall we? That’s another rabbit we are never going to pull out of the hat. File next to strategic workforce planning, staff engagement, talent retention, HR shared services etc.
– Any HR person who tells me they “don’t really get” social media.
– Anyone who tells me that a ground breaking, innovative, value adding HR project done with passion and little cost can’t be considered successful because it didn’t demonstrate a clear ROI. Whatever happened to doing something just because it’s the right thing to do and adds value? Oh yes, that’s right. The value HAS to be measurable or it isn’t value.
– Usually intelligent people talking about gamification when they don’t know what it means. No doubt these are the same people who used to say “paradigm shift” a lot in the previous decade. And I still don’t know what that means.
– Unsolicited CVs. In this connected world, there is simply no excuse for sending random CVs either as a candidate or as a recruiter. That is both lazy and unproductive. Make the connection, then follow up.
– LinkedIn requests from people I don’t know and have never met. Make the connection as a person, then follow up. Explain why you want to connect, I’m not a sticker to collect in an album (do kids still do that? Probably not but you get the drift).
– People who make a living “consulting” and stating the bleeding obvious like saying “retention of key talent is critical to future success” – no shit, Sherlock (see above).
– Recruiters who tell me their company’s model is their point of difference when I know full well even they don’t believe that shit and they really are just like all their competitors and I’m just another tick in the BD box. If you can’t build lasting relationships, or your company won’t let you, don’t waste my time. I’m not stupid. I know which recruitment companies walk the talk.
Evil cat...
Evil cat…
– HR ladies blogging about cats. It’s been done to death and you are putting our much needed new, sexy, professional image back years (stands back and waits for explosion!).

Anything else you would you add to the list? I’m saying here and now I’m not putting up with this crap any more. It’s time to cut through all the negativity and pretentiousness that seems to surround our profession. The campaign for “real” HR starts here.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Looking for HR? Try Room 101

  1. So what you’re saying is that HR should stop focusing on all the things that are wrong and focus on what we could be doing differently/better/faster/stronger? If so, I completely agree. I still think these conversations should be happening but in an appreciative way. The challenge is changing the conversation.

    And now I want to read 1984 because it’s the second time I’ve heard reference to that book today!

    1. Yes absolutely. We seem to do so much naval gazing and self reflection. We talk so much about what’s wrong and not enough about what we do well. As I’ve said before, where are the HR heroes? Where is the positivity? Maybe we’ll start in NZ!

  2. You have got quite a few points from my bucket list of things I am super bored of HR dwelling over. And being the HR media space – the reality is that this is what is said over and over again and sometimes I wonder – are we all just copying what we believe is being said by the next best person we know! It does feel a bit like ‘playing dress-up’ where you wear the attitude that runs the mill now… to be in the game. But yes, the focus needs to shift to really do what each function in any business deserves a place for – contribute directly to the business and bottomline. Thanks for sharing …

    1. Thanks for your comments Rajlakshmisaikia. I agree – if these things get peddled often enough it becomes the truth by default.

  3. Reblogged this on socialtreacle and commented:
    You have got quite a few points from my bucket list of things I am super bored of HR dwelling over. And being the HR media space – the reality is that this is what is said over and over again and sometimes I wonder – are we all just copying what we believe is being said by the next best person we know! It does feel a bit like ‘playing dress-up’ where you wear the attitude that runs the mill now… to be in the game. But yes, the focus needs to shift to really do what each function in any business deserves a place for – contribute directly to the business and bottomline. Thanks for sharing …

  4. Richard – this is my favourite post of yours to date! I love the tired cliches in the HR world. One of my shared pet peeves is all of this talk about HR ‘having a seat at the table’ and recruiters ‘just dropping in’.

    1. Thanks David. Appreciate the comment. I do try and cut through the crap. How are you getting on?

      1. All going well here Richard – since we met back in 2011 I am a year into my first generalist role here in Sydney in a commercial property company. Loving the work! I hope you are getting on well in Wellington.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s