Best of the HR blogs: 13 great HR blog posts from April 2012

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Wooly mammoths, The West Wing & Ron Burgundy: A baker’s dozen of great HR blog posts!

April 2012 has been an almost absurdly abundant month in the world of HR blogs, which is why my usual selection of 12 of the best HR blog posts has been expanded to take in a baker’s dozen this time around.

This month, my pick of the best HR blog posts of April 2012 takes in such topics as wooly mammoths, The West Wing and Ron Burgundy. We also find time for Montaigne, Mad Men, Pinterest and Genghis Khan.

And this list of 13 great HR blog posts could easily have been twice as long again – it was particularly difficult to pick and choose this month. If there’s any interest out there, I will happily share my much lengthier ‘shortlist’ of the best HR blog posts of April 2012.

Even this lengthy shortlist is bound to have overlooked some particularly outstanding posts. So if there are any HR blog posts that you’ve particularly enjoyed during April 2012, please share your recommendations via the comments box below, or get in touch via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+. I’d love to hear from you.

Once again, this list of the best HR blog posts of the last month is presented in alphabetical order by author surname.

Best of the HR blogs: 13 great HR blog posts from April 2012

  • Kevin Ball: Always Do Your Best Leading UK HR blogger Kevin Ball continues his series on leadership lessons drawn from Montaigne’s views on “how to live”. Kevin’s lesson from Montaigne in this particular post is both simple and wide-ranging: “Lend your ears to everyone and your mind to no-one. Protect your integrity above all and always do your best.”
  • Steve Browne: The Love of HR Why does the business world generally applaud people who say they are are passionate about their work, but scoff at those who express such sentiments when it comes to HR? Steve Browne explores this question in this brilliant guest post for Chris Fields’ Cost of Work blog. Steve argues (passionately, I might add!) that “the core of HR is humans.” Steve is also not afraid to nail his colours to the mast when it comes to his own feelings about HR: “I am FIERCLEY passionate about all areas in my life – especially HR !!  You may wonder why someone would characterize their approach to HR as ‘fiercely passionate,’ but honestly, there really isn’t any other feasible option.” [...] People are fascinating, intriguing, challenging and unique.  To be in a field where you can pull the amazing talents and strengths of people to see companies thrive is humbling !!  What other profession can touch, influence and shape both the present and the future of an organization?”
  • Melissa Fairman: My Confession It would probably be giving away too much about this post (a guest post in Victorio Milian‘s Project: Social series) from US HR blogger Melissa Fairman (aka HrRemix on Twitter) to tell you here what her confession involves. But it’s to do with something about which Melissa is passionate, and which she says has made her “a better HR person.”
  • Joan Ginsberg: Why Mad Men Should Bring Back Sal Romano If you’re not yet a worshipper of Mad Men, then I envy you the chance to discover this superlative series anew. I love this post from Joan Ginsberg, which looks at one small aspect of what makes Mad Men great (how it reminds us that “there was no separation of work and personal back then [in the New York of the early 1960s]), and examines the role of just one character. Ginsberg focuses on Salvatore Romano, “a deeply closeted homosexual man [who] did what the culture of the times demanded he do to keep his true self a secret.” She argues that Romano’s abrupt departure from Mad Men is a shame, and that she would like him to return to the series “because sexual orientation remains a common source of workplace discrimination.” She feels that tracking Romano’s subsequent life has the potential to provide an example “in popular culture of how things can get better.”
  • Kate Griffiths-Lambeth: What Khan You See? Inspired by the unveiling in London’s Marble Arch of a statue of Genghis Khan, Kate Griffiths-Lambeth presents a fascinating and well researched investigation into “whether Genghis Khan was a ruthless bully who would have benefitted from anger management coaching or if he is an early exemplar of necessary traits for today’s great leaders.” One of the best things about blogging is the way that one post can spark off an entirely new debate, and inspire other bloggers. Kate’s post is a great example of this, having kicked off a lively Twitter discussion, and duly resulted in a post entitled Leadership lessons from dictators and warlords on the Flip Chart Fairy Tales blog.
  • Rob Jones: The One To Fail What do The West Wing, Rimsky-Korsakov and leadership have in common? You can find the answers in this great post on leadership from Rob Jones’ Masters or Bust blog, which looks at failure and how to ensure you have “decisive, empowered people working with you.” Esteemed UK blogging gent @MervynDinnen tweeted an excellent review of this post – and I agree completely with his opinion here! Mervyn said: “my favourite type of blog…popular culture, personal experience, business insight and a key learning point. Bravo!” Here’s just one pearl of wisdom from Rob’s post: “[W]hilst safety may seem like the best option sometimes doing nothing or attempting something half heartedly may lead to an outcome that isn’t satisfying either for you or those around you.” Click here and here to find out just what exactly Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol sounds like (although sadly this particular performance rahter lacks Mr Jones himself on bass trombone).
  • Sharlyn Lauby: What Creates a High Performing Organization? A terrific investigation of the role that social media can potentially play in helping create high-performing organisations. Sharlyn Lauby’s says that for all the talk suggesting that a social media presence is essential in the modern world, we all have the choice to say “no” to social media: “There’s a lot of conversation about how people ‘must’ be on social media. That it’s ‘absolutely necessary’ for your professional career. The truth is no one can convince you to be active on social media. That’s your decision alone to make.”
  • Darren Newman: Are companies ‘shunning’ temps because of the Agency Workers Regulations? Just how accurate an impression of employment law matters can you glean from reading the national newspapers? Self-proclaimed “employment law anorak” Darren Newman’s A Range of Reasonable Responses blog looks at how particular employment law issues have been reported in the news, and – where necessary – exposes and demolishes inaccuracies and outright falsehoods. The post I’ve highlighted here is a very good example of Darren’s approach, focusing on an article from the Daily Telegraph, which he says is designed to “paint a picture that fits in with the ‘employment law is bad for workers’ theme regardless of the actual facts of he case.” I would urge anyone reading this to follow Darren on Twitter, and if you ever spot an employment law-related news story that could use a closer look, please do flag it up to him (not that I imagine he is exactly stuck for material!).
  • Jane Perdue: Women Of Power And Woolly Mammoths In this great little post, Jane Perdue (aka The HR Goddess on Twitter) shares some of Dr Elaine Yarbrough‘s “priceless nuggets of wisdom for women everywhere to ponder, promote…and do.” So where do woolly mammoths come into it? Head over to Jane’s blog to find out!
  • Laurie Ruettimann: Human Resources Should Stay Off Pinterest I’m slightly behind the times here, but my excuse is that this fantastic post was published a few hours after my round of the best of the HR blogs from March 2012 was published (on Friday 30 March 2012). Laurie Ruettimann takes an inspired look at Pinterest, HR, social media policies …and the immortal words of Ron Burgundy. And please do also spare a moment to check out Laurie’s similarly-titled Pinterest page: Human Resources Should Stay Off Pinterest
  • Rick: The End Of The State As We Knew It “You’ve heard of permanent revolution; well this will be permanent cost-cutting.” I think that Flip Chart Fairy Tales blog author Rick is one of the best UK HR bloggers. And this is one of his best ever posts. Here, Rick explores the sobering but all-too-plausible theory that the UK’s ageing population “means that the government’s response will have to be simultaneous tax increases and spending cuts.” This means that rather than winding down in time for the 2015 general election, the age of austerity could have only just begun.
  • Rick: Selection Bias – The Failure To Study Failure This second selection from Flip Chart Fairy Tales is full of thought-provoking observations on how we use data in the workplace. Rick puts his finger on a paradox at the heart of how organisations (and HR) use data. One of the most common objectives of organisational data usage might be boiled down to pursuing success and avoiding failure. But, as Rick points out: “The trouble is, businesses are made up of biased data sets. Studying failures presents something of a problem for management research. We tend to airbrush failure out of corporate history. [...] This inevitable failure to study failure means that management can never be truly evidence based.”
  • Ian Welsh: What Does HR Do Better Than Anyone Else? An extremely interesting overview of the origins of the HR profession, its evolution from the status of “matchmaker,” and a consideration of where it might go from here. Ian Welsh poses a number of key questions that go straight to the core of the profession. Perhaps the most pertinent is the following: “What are the key reasons why HR will survive and continue to flourish?” I’d love to know your take on this particular question!

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