If I Could Change One Thing About HR… | HR Fishbowl

xperthr-9104195My buddy Michael Carty over at Xpert HR asked me to participate in their “What I would Change About HR” blog series. I was happy to contribute my thoughts via the following post which was originally featured in their blog on September 13, 2010. When you have a second, check what some of the great HR thought leaders like Elaine Cohen, Gareth Jones, Stefanie Fontanez, Paul Smith, The HRD, Bill Boorman, David Shepherd, and others are suggesting we need to change about our beloved profession. And contribute to the dialog!


Asking me to rant about what I would change in HR is like asking my daughter to tell me about her day at school. Your genuine interest in the response tends to wane after the first 10 minutes. I love my daughter to death, but she is not short on words.

Just because I have a lot to say about what HR needs to change doesn’t mean I’m all down-in-the-dumps about it. We have a lot of great stuff going for us and I’m proud to put myself out there as a banner waving member of the profession. But if I had to choose one thing…just one thing…it would be this…

We need to get a seat at the table.

No no no. Isn’t that just the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard? I mean it had its place, but come on already! I got news for you: If you’re not “at the table” yet, you’re never going to get there. Just give it up and get back to pushin’ that paper. Here’s what I really think needs changing.

We need to become more selective in who we allow into the profession.

Yep, that’s right. Some of you don’t belong here and you’re bringing the rest of us down. No (relevant) degree? Farewell. No fundamental understanding of accounting and finance? Adios. Incapable of standing in front of a room and giving a presentation? Tot ziens. Short on professional demeanor, board room presence and charisma? до свидания. Timid, shy, softspoken? Arrivederci. One dimensional? 再见. Uncomfortable with change and ambiguity? Au revoir. Never travelled more than 200 miles from your home? Beat it. Clock watcher? αντίο. Slow on the uptake? Bugger off

You get the picture. We’ve been around a long time and actually have a professional brand and identity more widely recognized than many. But the brand is synonymous with ‘mediocrity’ and that just kills me. We got junk in the trunk (boot) and we need to get rid of it…deliberately!

There is no better time, my friends, to upgrade the talent level of your HR team. There are so many great people on the streets right now – find them, bring them on, and relieve yourself of that dead weight that just sucks the life out of our collective reputation.

Hell, I’d argue they don’t even need experience in HR. They just need strong business acumen, an appreciation for people, agility in responding to the evolving needs of an organization, and a proven record of differentiating, adding value, and creating lasting experiences. If this notion makes you uncomfortable, I reckon you’re just some of that dead weight…

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