Get Busy Being Relevant | HR Fishbowl

Written on February 10, 2011 by Charlie in Employee Engagement, Trench HR

Watch out. I’m kind of on a new kick. But I have ADHD (self-diagnosed) and like running to the next shiny object that catches my eye, so this one probably won’t last long. While it does, though, I might as well wax on it…

It’s ALL about RELEVANCE. When defined as “having direct bearing on the matter in hand; pertinent,” it kind of seems like something we’d like to have said about us in the workplace…that we are ‘relevant.’ Ever ran into a colleague at work and asked them, “how’s it going,” and then they answer, “man, I’m busy,” at which point you say, “well I guess that’s job security.” And then you both chuckle as if you said something quite clever. I got news for you, bud. In this age when knowledge is king, job security is no longer about ‘busy.’ It’s about ‘relevant.’ And nowhere is ‘relevant’ more relevant right now than in HR.

I read Workforce of One a while ago. It’s by Susan Cantrell, a Research Fellow at the Accenture Institute for High Performance and David Smith, Accenture’s Managing Director of its Talent & Organization Performance Practice. While I really like its premise – revolutionizing talent management through customization – I was struck (right between the eyes) by one of the findings that fueled it. Through their carefully conducted employee surveys (you can validate the statistical significance by reading the book), they discovered that a paltry 6% of employees strongly agreed HR had a meaningful impact on their performance and success and the same number of employees – and this is where it gets really scary – said HR is relevant to them. Are you hearing this? WTF! OMG! COL (Cry Out Loud)! Does this disturb you? It does me…mucho.

What does this says about HR? It says we thought we were all cool and stuff getting all strategic and stuff, but we went way too far with it. It says we’re wasting a lot of time, energy, resources…and cold hard cash. It says our business leaders may respect us more, but our employees respect us less. It says we fell asleep at the switch and got fat-dumb-and-happy. It says we’ve been chasing our tails. It says we lost sight of the one thing that justifies our existence…employees. Ooops. And I think it says the business world is about to get all Darwin on us again…either we adapt and evolve, or there’s not much of a place for us anymore.

I’m convinced this is our next big challenge. And it’s not going to be easy. In fact, I think it’s going to be a bitch. But hey, at least we’re busy.

Image Credit: HumanistHappiness

If you’d like to hear me talk a bit more about relevance and talent management customization, you can listen to my guest appearance on the DriveThruHR Radio Show

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