HR humour – quit your navel-gazing and raise your game!

I recently saw a couple of LinkedIn discussions in HR forums. One asked whether HR should be renamed something more appropriate, relevant. The other asked for ideas on how to make HR people more strategic.

This navel-gazing within HR has been going on for decades with the same old questions continually being asked. I do wonder if HR spent less time worrying about what it is and what it is called then the people who actually work in HR might have time to raise their game and deliver a great service.

I did though, like a few of the suggestions that were put forward alongside the old favourites for HR such as ‘Human Remains’ and ‘Hatred and Retribution’. No smirking allowed, but others included:

  • PPP (Process, procedure and procrastination)
  • TITRYC (I’m too important to return your call)
  • AMT (Ask me tomorrow)
  • TBTA (Too busy to answer)
  • TNMR (that’s not my responsibility)

This navel-gazing reminded me of a joke I have come across a few times over the years. It might be an old joke, but for those in HR genuinely interested in raising their game, it’s a useful reminder:

A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted:

“Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The woman below replied: “You are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You are 51º21,32.87 degrees north latitude and 0º21,32.87 degrees west longitude.”

“You must be an IT specialist,” said the balloonist.

” I am,” replied the woman. “How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help so far.”

The woman below responded: “You must be in HR.”

“I am,“ replied the balloonist. “But how did you know?”

“Well,” said the woman, “you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”

So what do we learn from this and what can we choose to do differently?

Here are my top 5 ideas:

  1. Stop blaming others for what they did wrong. (What might you have done to avoid this happening in the first place?)
  2. Stop criticising others. (I sometimes wonder if the criticism of others is just a way of deflecting flack away from HR)
  3. Try being a bit more independent and able to sort yourself out when needed (its embarrassing when HR don’t know how to use even the most basic technology or understand the most simple of organisational finances)
  4. Take real responsibility and be truly accountable for what you need to achieve (this is about looking and acting like an adult rather than like a helpless child)
  5. And finally, take heart in knowing that its not just HR that has problems – other departments get flack too!

Thoughts, ideas, opinions? All welcomed of course.

Interested in training to make every single person from HR Director down to HR Admin better able to understand the finances and more confident at grasping the commercial issues? Call Jaluch for ideas and a quote.

Got anyone working with you who is a waste of space? Call us to talk about how we can support you with removing them from the organisation.

Got any managers who still don’t get that managing people is complicated and needs to be done within the law? Call us to ask about our essential employment law training ‘Hearing the Warning Bells’.

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2 replies added

  1. Barbara Hewitt 3 April, 2014 Reply

    How about “Hatred and Retribution” by “Human Remains”

  2. Helen 7 April, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Barbara. Know of anyone who might like to write the book?

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