The Playground Dynamics of HR | HR Fishbowl

adult-recess-300x294-6798918For a variety of reasons – none of them important – I found myself thinking about what the playground might look like if we all took recess at work. The marketing team would surely be painting the earth with chalk. The customer facing and/or shop floor employees would be building something in the sandbox, the IT and/or engineering team would be telling them how to build it, and the accounting/finance team would be relentless in trying to raze whatever it was they were building. The executive team would be huddled in a corner whispering while their admins fluttered about sharing their secrets with anyone who would listen. The sales team would probably be sneaking a smoke or off chasing the girls/boys. And the HR team…well, we’d be standing smack dab in the middle of the playground trying to figure out who we should go play with. And we’d be wrought with angst over the gravity of this decision:

  • “What can I do without getting into trouble?”
  • “Who really needs my attention more right now? Ya know, I really shouldn’t play favorites…I’ll just stay right here.”
  • “I’ve always wanted to play with Tom, but I really shouldn’t unless he invites me to.”
  • “Wow, no one is fighting, kicking, or screaming. No need for me here.”
  • “I’ll never understand that game Dick is playing…and no use trying.”
  • “Oh my, Harry really shouldn’t be doing that…I’ll need to talk to him about that…later.”

To some extent, these are things every kid wrestles with on the playground. But HR is so damn focused on workplace dynamics that it cripples us sometimes. We are painfully astute when it comes to deciphering the various workplace levers – the pulls and pushes. But rarely are we the ones actually doing the pulling or pushing. We preserve our role as the organization’s agent by not (fully) engaging in its games. We fail to see ourselves as an active (and vital) participant so we end up playing with no one. And who the hell wants someone like that on their playground?

Photo Credit: EarthtoDave

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