… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

Pinch Me

For the last several years, my life has felt like I’ve been bouncing around from one big change to another, never landing anywhere for long before I have to work through another major life change. Now, the changes for the most part have been positive. New jobs, new friends, new locations and experiences. But even good changes are stressful. It’s good I’m a firm believer that if I have to go through something unpleasant in order to get to something better then the drama was worth it. Things always work themselves out, somehow.

It’s sickeningly optimistic, I get it.

But because of that, I’ve felt that the Barenaked Ladies – Pinch Me song is the perfect theme for me lately. Especially the line, “I feel fine enough I guess, considering everything is a mess.”

This morning, while I was digging into my email, it struck me that HR resembles that song lyric too. HR’s purpose is to serve a company and its employees. To be there when and because things are a mess. But that being said, I also don’t think that should be the ultimate goal of HR either. There will always be messes, and if we as a profession exist solely to clean them up then we aren’t serving our purpose.

We end up enabling a situation that perpetuates our own stagnation. We start existing only to maintain our own positions, and that doesn’t actually serve anybody but ourselves.

I’ve always loved the idea of working yourself out of your position. It seems like a backwards way of going about things but if through your own hard work and diligence you can make it so the company can survive without you, aren’t you ultimately doing the best for your company? Isn’t that what HR really needs to do? Instead of coming up with another policy, shouldn’t we be helping create a culture where we don’t need 200 page employee handbooks?

Steve Browne recently asked “What are you holding on to?” over at his blog, Everyday People. Steve even recommends tearing something out of your handbook to see if anyone notices. I love the idea of letting go of things that aren’t actually contributing to the organization and start focusing on things that will. No company needs an 8 page dress code policy. That does nothing but waste time and perpetuate the illusion that the HR department is needed, if only to be there to enforce that policy and likely a dozen others equally ridiculous.

That’s a self inflicted mess if I’ve ever heard of one. And that’s not the purpose of HR.

So push back. How about instead of creating more messes for yourself to clean up later, why not find ways to either help others clean up their own messes if not preventing them in the first place. Go ahead, render your position obsolete. You might be surprised at what positive changes may come from it. The drama will totally be worth it.

3 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Chris :

    One thing I love about networking with HR Pros like you, is you offer a different take on things. This is what I love about teams, I may see it one way and you may see it another way. I love the positive nature of this post, thus you, because you could be looking at a half empty glass. However it seems pretty full. Nice stuff. Rock on.

  • 2 Dave "theHRCzar" Ryan :

    Shauna great post today– challenging everyone to make themselves obsolete. I like it, although few of us would ever be able to pull it off.

  • 3 Shauna :

    Chris – Thanks a lot! 🙂

    Dave – I’ve been able to do it once, though unintentionally. I’d kinda like to do it on purpose once. 🙂