The Others – a perception of HR

As always, things pop into my head during movies, hangouts and reading certain posts and articles. One of those things lurking in my brain is the topic of HR and their closed reality or what I like to call it the HR dimension. It is not my intention to blame the HR department for their lack of perceiving close future trends and benefits. But it is more than obvious that there is something wrong within the way HR looks, listen, and watch at their business habitats. It might be a little bit mean to say this but HR Departments seems to be like the family in the movie “The Others”. Do you remember it? It is the family living in this huge house with Nicole Kidman as the mother waiting for her husband returning from the war and her two kids and the household staff. Strange things happens around the house, the husband returns and then again leaves. At the end we all know that it was false perception. Mother and kids were already dead but their ghosts (especially the mother) did not accept this reality. The only ones aware of the whole situation are the household staff.

HR department – the mother

Again it might be a little bit mean to say it but for me it’s some kind of a truth. HR as a department seems to be like the mother in this movie. Once married to the whole structure of the company HR is there and waiting in its old house. Or better said it is waiting in their old ways of working style and culture to be acknowledged again as a major part of business, strategy and the whole company. And really sometimes the company shows up and asks for help and advice but shortly after leaving the HR mother alone again. But HR is a good mother always around it children and caring and pampering them. Keep the kids within the house cause if the get in touch with the outer world they might suffer from light.

HR tools – the kids

Some might have thought of employees as the kids but that’s not the common reality. The kids of the HR are its tools and routines. For some times now these tools have growing up under the motherhood of HR. Even if they are suffer from some illnesses like lack of usability or failing the connect employees they are the kids of HR and therefore must be prevented from being harmed. Even if sunlight or the in the case of HR the critical observation of such tools from the outside show their ineffectiveness. Even if the tools wants to evolve and get better mother won’t let them cause the new or the outside might hurt them.

The employees – the household staff

Yes I know they should be the kids but it’s not like that in HR. Employees are aware of the change that is happening around them. They use Social Media and social software tools; they are familiar with development and new features of tools and techniques. And they know that HR and its kids are doing it wrong the way they do. But what should they do? They are only the household staff literally the employees. No one of the family will listen to them even if they know the whole truth.

What I am trying to show…

The mother HR is living in a world or dimension that’s a bygone reality. Its perception of time and development is far behind possibilities and nowadays reality. (take a look at some prominent bad examples of employer branding videos)  HR departments and their roles, routines and tools are ghosts within the complex world of enterprise social networks and the development of Social Business, Enterprise 2.0 and social software.

But unlike in the movie HR must not face the reality of its death. HR must realize that there is a world outside their common tools and routines and that the employees are the kids it should care about. HR must accept that its former role within the company has change a lot and it has to embrace a whole new concept of how it works, uses tools and engages different stakeholders.

The moment of disruption

It might be a ground shaking mind shift but if HR should be like social customer relation.

  • Employees are customers
  • Customers are the center of every business
  • Take care of the needs and knowledge of your employee customers
  • Be ready to get feedback from your employee customers
  • Treat every employee customer need as a chance to evolve your services
  • Response to any employee customer

If HR change its working style it will get much more benefit from its customers.

  • Discover hidden knowledge
  • Find employer brand advocates
  • Discover unknown innovation
  • Connect to everyone in a holistic network
  • Get better results from team collaboration
  • Get satisfied and happy employees
  • Effective communications

At the end HR will again be part of the business and won’t wait any longer for the business to return.

So what do you think? Does HR need a mind shift or should just open its mind to new techs, routines and tools?

About the author

Sebastian Thielke

Sebastian Thielke ist Junior Consultant bei der Eck Consulting Group und entwickelt strategische Konzepte für Social Media sowie Social Business und Enterprise 2.0. Seinen B.A. in Kommunikationswissenschaften und Anglistik schloss er erfolgreich an der Universität Greifswald ab. In Zusammenarbeit mit OZEANEUM Stralsund GmbH schrieb er seine Abschlussarbeit zum Thema Enterprise 2.0 und internes Microblogging. Bei der Engel & Zimmermann AG schloss er seine Ausbildung zum Junior PR Berater ab. Die umfassende strategische Integration von Social Media und Social Software sowie die Schulung von Unternehmensmitarbeitern stehen im Fokus seiner Arbeit. Er ist Wegbereiter und Wandelbegleiter im Transformationsprozess von Unternehmen zu einem Social Business.