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Nonsensical HR

nonsensicalI caught a tweet the other day from an unnamed tweep who was suggesting that even though she had a big HR exam the next day, she wasn’t stressed because HR was “common sense.”  I fumed on this a bit.  Then I realized I myself have made a career out of HR and never once took a class in school.  I started as a CPA…a profession not well-known as an HR breeding ground.  Somehow I just picked up the interest and the know-how along the way (thanks to some really good mentors and a lot of on the job training).  But I think a lot of what has helped me along in my HR career has come from simply applying “common sense.”  In fact, sometimes I think I’ve purposely avoided “the book” on this subject for fear of dehumanizing my approach.  Now “what comes natural” doesn’t always mean it’s right (or legal.)  But I’m a human and my job is about humans, so it kind of makes sense that I can just consult my own gut (and other’s too) from time to time.  Maybe that’s what truly distinguishes a good HR person from a mediocre HR person – the ability and willingness to apply gut and instinct to workplace dynamics.  Sometimes this means taking a risk or going against the grain or even breaking “a rule.”   This is a big deal for me these days…I’m scared that we’re over-engineering the hell out HR.  I haven’t worked it all out yet, but I”m telling you we get way too caught up in theory, policy, law, procedure, technology, psychology, so on and so forth.  I think good HR is easier than that – not “trivial” mind you, just easier.  I bet if we listened a little harder to what our people were telling us and what our own gut was grumbling about, we’d find that most of the solutions to today’s workplace issues are right in front of us.  I know this doesn’t seem like a terribly substantive post, but that’s partially because I’m on Codeine laced cough medicine and mostly because I’m just starting to chip away at this. I’m warning ya, though, there’s more on this to come…

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  1. Mike Capizzi
    November 8, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Simple is more; common sense doesn’t always correlate to policy. In large organizations especially, HR has absolutely no connection with staff/personnel unless it’s benefits renewal time (which is routine) or something negative has occurred. Nice read.

  2. November 8, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    we hear this alot, mike. there’s definitely something about simple human connectivity…something i’m afraid we’re losing. thx for the comment.

  3. November 8, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Talk to Michael Haberman and you’ll have an awesome meeting of the minds.

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