I attended an awards luncheon where the nominees were asked the question, “What would you have expected to have given up by now?” Answers involved a lot of childhood sweets, biting nails and imaginary dogs (that was not mine).
Slap that question on the HR profession and I have a few ideas around the answers. Some are common sense and others bend towards future expectations we should anticipate. So here’s my list of 10 things HR should have given up by now:
- Party Planning. Come on. You knew that would make my list. Just.Say.No.
- Justifying the importance of culture work. The speaker at this award deal was a CEO of a $500M innovation firm. She spoke about 5 things people needed to do to be successful, and creating the culture you want to work in was one. Focus on the care and nurturing of your culture. Culture allows you to attract and retain talent – no justification needed.
- Anything related to payroll or compliance. If HR is ever going to move out of the “personnel” box, these functions need to go elsewhere. Mind you, each is important. You mess up people’s pay and it’s Armageddon. But the hard wiring required to be outstanding at payroll or compliance activities should not be sitting in HR.
- Walls. Both physical and mental. Get with the program on flex workspace and collaboration – tear down those walls! Mentally, don’t box yourself in. To be an effective and respected HR function/person, you must assume a GM mindset. You need to be contributing to marketing, finance, sales – so go sit in their seats and take a spin.
- Dealing with sexual harassment. Yes, we expected to be dealing with workplace sexual harassment in the ’80’s and ’90’s – but not in 2019 – or at least not to the extent we are. If you haven’t already, go fire whoever bought all those horrible videos to teach men and women to behave, and go figure out what you need to do instead (hint: see paragraph on culture).
- Allowing bad behavior to exist/be rewarded. Everyone reading this can name at least one person in their work environment who gets away with stuff he/she shouldn’t. Perhaps they’re a top producer, or know how to play politics better? They might have dirt or play a key role with no successor. If this is a theme in your org, do your job and change it.
- Anything deemed “traditional”. Performance evaluations, org charts, paper, inflexible work arrangements, service awards, etc. Ask yourself, “Does it provide value we can measure?” or “Will it attract, develop and retain top talent?“
- Dealing with conflict. I sometimes think people have just given up trying to become better at dealing with conflict. Give up gluten, meat and late night on-line shopping (you know who you are) – but don’t give up on your part in managing conflict! HR needs to have a queue of executive coaches at the ready, customized development plans for those wanting to manage people and the guts to cut the cord on anyone who still shouts at others in a work environment.
- Resumes. I’ve been on this soapbox before. Most aren’t ever read, likely contain elements of stretching the truth and don’t predict if someone is going to be an awesome fit for your culture. Great interviews, assessments and use of “auditions” will serve you better.
- Only relying on FTEs to get work done. The future workforce is here, and they don’t always look like full-time employees. They are interim, freelance, contract, gig, part-time, interns, seasonal, consultants, worksite suppliers and non-traditional schedule full-timers. Think differently about how work gets done.
What else would you have expected to have given up by now in HR? And giving up on giving up things is not an answer. Nor is giving up on the profession.
To anyone wondering what I would have expected to given up by now… the ’80’s rock. That would have been my answer. But then again, I’m seriously considering going to Vegas to see Def Leppard for their Sin City Residency!