To the Lab! | HR Fishbowl

Written on December 8, 2010 by Charlie in #TrenchHR, Environment, Theory

‘Tis the season for the common cold. I’m getting over one right now. I’ve had like three already. Some people kick their dog and throw things when they’re stressed-out, others smoke pot. I get a cold. I do my best to avoid them, but I have a fair amount of stress in my life and I’m not always the best at managing it. And I have come to learn that throwing a bunch of cold medicine down my throat doesn’t do much more than help me endure the misery. It doesn’t cure anything and it certainly doesn’t prevent it from happening again.

Do you ever find yourself throwing a whole bunch of cheap-ass, moderately effective, over-the-counter remedies at problems in the workplace – masking the issues, making them bearable, maybe even temporarily fixing them only to have them crop up again somewhere (not too far) down the road? I’ve found myself considering whether most of our efforts in HR go toward merely treating the symptoms of workplace dysfunction and not curing the disease. After all, why do we find ourselves dealing with the same crap over and over again? The ailments we’re called upon to treat haven’t  really changed over the years. New ones crop up, but very few of the old ones disappear. And while we may treat them differently – stronger, faster, better – we are forced to treat them nonetheless.

Workplace dysfunction is a nasty disease. Is it incurable? As long as we’re talking about humans, yes, I’m afraid it’s terminal. But HR might just be our only hope. And that’s why we better be spending (a lot) more time in the lab working on a cure than we do in the sick bays administering morphine.

Have I now taken this analogy too far? Yes, I think so. But chew on it…

Image Credit: Fergie’s Tech Blog

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