Stop mucking it up!

A day rarely goes by when I don’t come across some publication from some hifalutin organization about the hottest and most pressing Human Resources Trends that we better be thinking about; elsewise, and god forbid, the sky will in fact fall. The latest comes from Deloitte and they characterize theirs as Human Capital Revolution/Evolution (there’s a copyright claim here, #HREvolution, Trish McFarland, Ben Eubanks, Crystal Peterson, and Steve Boese). I’ll summarize their trends for you so you don’t have to dig through their 37 page report.

  1. Workforce Analytics: getting them, understanding them, using them
  2. Leveraging Cloud Computing and responding with agility to the impact these technologies have on how businesses operate
  3. From Ladder to Lattice: the decline of the conventional hierarchical model and the advent of the multi-dimensional structure, career path, reporting relationships, etc.
  4. Gaining a foothold into emerging markets – global presence and impact
  5. Diversity and Inclusion…turning this into a competitive advantage
  6. Developing new and non-traditional models for developing leaders, succession planning, and filling the pipeline
  7. Economic recovery will lead to talent shortages and retention challenges
  8. COOs for HR – developing a focused effort to manage HR operations, systems, and delivery thereof as a well-oiled machine
  9. Heightened regulations and scrutiny on the global, national, and state level
  10. Collective Leadership: Getting Organizations to work as one while recognizing and embracing the very fundamental notion that one-size does not fit-all
  11. Multi-sourcing: learning how to take advantage of a contingent workforce…and other complementary staffing models
  12. Employer health care reform…moving from compliance to proactive design and delivery, systems realignment, etc.

Now in the interest of full-disclosure, I was a 13-year employee of Deloitte. Love them. I like these reports – they are important to read and understand. And I love a number of the recommendations (COOs for HR and Ladder to Lattice, for instance). I also understand why their likes have to put out “thought-leadership” like this. It’s business, after all. But here’s what I mostly think about your reports: NOISE! The problem is, your reports land in the hands of our C-Suite. Then the C-Suite says, “oooohhh, ahhhh” and they get all excited and they say to themselves, “we need to be doing this,” and then they come to HR and ask, “why aren’t we doing this,” and then we say to ourselves, “fuck.” We are doing this…it’s the same stuff we’ve been doing for decades now. It’s just packaged differently. Show me an organization that can realistically put a concerted and readily recognizable effort toward any of these trends as a program or a practice. That’s just not how it works. Some of these things are ingrained in so much that we do that they become “outcomes,” not programs or trends. And the others?  Well, we’re just too busy running around with fewer resources responding to the mess and muck your average manager or employee heaps upon us on a daily basis. And who the hell talks this way anyway? Like I’m going to sit down with my business leaders and say, “ya know, we really should be talking about cloud computing and how it’s going to impact our workforce.” They’d kick my ass and say why don’t you get out there and focus on my people. And that’s just it! Once…just once…I’d love to see some reputable consulting shop come out with an HR Trend Report that reads like this:

  1. Talk to and listen to your employees; try to understand what motivates, interests, and excites them; then try to give it to them
  2. Clearly communicate your expectations, understand theirs for you, and do your best to sync them up; hold them accountable for theirs and let them hold you accountable for yours
  3. Be honest and open with your people…tell it like it is…put your money where your mouth is…stop the ‘spin’
  4. Quit bothering your employees with paperwork, forms, rules, and process; let them do what you hired them to do

There are probably a few more. But four is really all I need for my purposes. Why can’t we get our organizations to focus on this stuff first? Any of my ‘Trends’ effectively adhered to would blow any one of your twelve out of the water. Do me a favor, stop mucking it all up for us. Unless you can start making recommendations around the fundamental – and pragmatic  - things we should all be focused on, keep it to yourselves.

*By the way, I was a guest on DriveThruHR Radio on May 25, 2011 and we talked about this very topic. Check out the recording.

Image Credit (Flickr): Duncan

3 Responses to Stop mucking it up!
  1. chris
    May 26, 2011 | 10:58 am

    I think I like it, no I know I do…great job!

  2. dawn hrdlica-burke (dawnHRrocks)
    May 26, 2011 | 11:58 am

    CJ– you know from the start we believe in the same thing: keep HR simple.

    I like your list of four! Also, the Deloitte report is way to long. I like a nice exec summary and then let me chose what I read or not.

    We HR activists are assuming that HR rockstars aren’t already talking to your 4 bullet points. It is also assuming we are blindly following the Deloitte data dump to look relevant.

    I know many, many who believe and live by the Charlie Judy Four….and have been talking about it forever and making cultural progress. but, damn, it makes by point a lot stronger with a nice little data nugget. Even ones from a 37 page Deloitte paper.

    I am not a believer in an all or nothing approach. Humanistic HR is enhanced by data and most definately Data dumps are enhanced (if not made relevant) by Humanistic theory.

    The real HR rockstar uses both, knows when to hold em, fold em, blah.

    Love the post– good conversation.

  3. Charlie
    May 27, 2011 | 2:03 pm

    @chris – glad it speaks to you

    @dawn – i agree this isn’t an “either/or” proposition, but an “and/both.” there’s a reason i read the report to begin with – it has relevance and adds context. and it helps to be able to show your constituents that you have your finger on the pulse of the industry – that you can identify with these trends. they do in fact love it when you can reference a report like this. but we just have to be careful about putting too much credence in it. thanks for the comments!

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