What are you holding on to ??

HR is fraught with so many things that it clings to which aren’t really necessary.  We publish policy after policy to no avail.  It’s amazing how much is put together in manuals and handbooks with the hope that behavior will somehow be affected, changed or altered.

Recently, I was told about a company that has an eight page dress code policy !!  Eight pages !!  When I asked about it and actually read it, they missed things that people could wear that would really set people on end.  So, instead of addressing the one or two actual people who were not wearing “appropriate” clothing, HR comes out with this eight page literary work – that no one follows !!

While I was surrounded this past week by 70,000 singing fans at the U2 concert in Chicago, the band played a favorite of mine from No Line on the Horizon called Moment of Surrender during their second encore.  As I was singing along with Bono (and everyone else), I was struck by the lyrics that say “At the moment of surrender – Of vision over visibility – I did not notice the passers-by – And they did not notice me.”

We sometimes lose our vision in HR.  There is so much that we need to let go of and let it float away !!  If you truly look at much of what we do, our policies, procedures and systems don’t tell employees how to DO work.  They focus on what NOT to do !!  And, in having this approach, we’re amazed that things don’t change at work.

It’s time for us to stop doing this.  We need to have ways for people to perform, excel and shine in our organizations.  We need to stop trying to police behavior and, instead, build a framework and an environment where people can be engaged and utilize their strengths.

So, as you go to work this Monday, take a look at the volumes of things you write which you think are being followed. Be daring.  Take a policy no one follows and rip it out of your handbook.  See if anyone notices.

It’s time for us to learn to let go.  What’s your next move ??

7 thoughts on “What are you holding on to ??”

  1. So refreshing, its time for us to work on our people building, team building, morale increasing, employee motivation skills, instead of creating processes and plans and trends to police, disengage and further alienate workers just so we can extricate them.

  2. One of the biggest challenges I’ve determined HR leaders face is to remain “strategic” while being inundated with tactical and even sub-tactical requests/tasks/demands/etc. When HR leaders allow themselves to be the “HR person” rather than thinking strategically about how best to serve the talent in the organization it’s easy to be distracted by ridiculous minutia like that you’ve noted above.

    It’s a difficult transition, but the very best HR leaders I’ve encountered have found a way to think holistically about the organization. Policies still need to exist, benefits plans must still be selected, recruiting trips need organized, but none of them should are the end result – rather, they must be viewed as a means to the end with the end being moving closer to accomplishing the organization’s mission.

    Great post!

  3. I just say Yes Yes Yes!!! There are so many people that focus on what they can´t do instead on what they can do and most importent what they whant to do. We have to celebrate “doers” more in our companies.

  4. Steve, Excellent point. Focus on what behaviors you want to see and reward them!! The don’ts don’t really do much good except to give people a line in which a challenge can be made if they get bored, frustrated etc… I took a break from HR and have been “mom” and you can really see it in kids and lets face it, people are big kids. Catch em doing something good and give them the training they need and make sure it is individualized. Help them succeed!

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