After several yrs. of bashing, I think we are at what many folks call “the moment of truth”.
My friend Laurie Ruettimann recently published an HR primer, noting what in her view and others is wrong and some ideas to fix it. Kudos to her to bravely go where few dare. Maybe she has not gone far enough, I want to up the table stakes. It’s not HR’s moment of truth, its our society’s moment.
First let me say that their are thousands of HR folk in big and small organizations across the country trying there damn best to do a great job, make a difference in the lives of their employees and at the end of the day make difficult work environments a little bit better. I am a glass is half full guy and I think on balance most HR is ok or pretty good, and where better off with then without HR.
The real issue is not if HR or some other function is broken or can impact an organizations agenda and outcomes. I am not sure when someone woke up one morning and decided that ethics, values and behavior was the responsibility of only HR. Its everyone’s responsibility. In a perfect world managers and staff would play nicely and do the right things everyday, however it’s not a perfect world. In the perfect world HR doesn’t need to exist, maybe a talent or OD team to help guide and recruit, but HR as a function could be folded into a few other departments.
Unfortunately we don’t live in the perfect world and we need folks to be the conscious of our organizations. Our society has gotten off the train tracks the past 2 decades. We are greedy, self-serving and uncaring. Take your sun glasses off and look at how our banks are paying hundreds in millions in fines for bad behavior, our financial system almost collapsed 5 yrs ago and they are run by well schooled MBA’s on Wall Street. Our politicians are shady and are not doing what the country needs. Our public schools are a disaster, I know personally as I am working for an organization trying to fix it.
That brings me to my point. It’s not about HR, or Finance, or Marketing. It’s about all of us losing sight of whats important in life. I don’t think HR or any other function can tackle that one. It’s a tall order.
Here’s what HR or HR individuals can do. Make a difference . Do great work. Be bold and help your organizations be successful. For some who are not sure where their career is heading, put your capabilities to good use at an organization that is making the world a better place. I am not talking about volunteering, I am saying find a place to work that has an impact on society. Alternative energy businesses, infrastructure organizations, healthcare, and yes education. there are thousands of places to work that impact the world. go do that.
It s not HR’s responsibility to make the world a better place, it’s everyones…time to get to work!