HR is OK

We’ve all heard about the backlash against HR – some of the top companies are choosing to eschew the common term and call it something different; talent, people and culture, people potential, employee success, and so on. I get it. Trying to distance yourself from the bummer stereotype of the HR person makes sense.

But at this point, I think we’re looking confused and divided rather than united in how awesome HR can be given the right circumstances.

I am squarely in the camp of talent practitioners that are NOT the policy police. I am about building solutions that are based on real people and real business needs. I think that rules are for the 4% of people who are assholes, and if we treat people like people hiand have real conversations, we can work through most problems. Some would call this “disruptive.” Some would call this “radical.” Some would call it “common sense.”

Maybe it’s similar to my titillation about being freckle faced and sweet looking and then heavily using the F word in my interactions, but I like calling myself the HR manager and then surprising people with how much I’m not going to tell them what to do. How much I’m not going to frown at a cheeky joke because we’re all adults. How I’m going to give a CEO 3 or 4 different options that all offer a spread of risk, cost, and employee experience. I like changing people’s minds on something they thought they hated. I like turning them into advocates for HR across the organization and across their networks.

There is a difference between CAN not, SHOULD not and WILL not. I have found my boundary on each of those things. Even though employment law is what it is, there is a certain amount of morality and gray area associated with this work, and I am comfortable with where my lines are. I also know that many leaders would prefer someone a little less cuss-y and a little less likely to call them out when they’re not being their best and a little more likely to write a dress code. And those leaders and I should not work together.

But I don’t want to call this anything else. I have an identity wrapped in HR, and I don’t want to get judgey about how people practice their craft. I do however, think we should be supporting each other and building the brand of HR in general and educating the market place about all the great, wonderful and weird ways you can do this thing so companies can find the philosophy (and practitioner) that works for them.




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