Top Canadian HR blogger Jane Watson recently posed a great question regarding this tendency: "Is HR the Woody Allen of the business world?"
She was inspired to write this by the current wave of interest in the Performance Advisor model for HR. Jane says:
"It's not that I think the constant introspection is entirely negative- I believe it shows that as a profession we deeply care about being of value. But it does feel as though it was not 10 minutes ago that the HR Business Partner was the new HR Generalist...now we will all attempt to become Performance Advisors."
I'd love to get your own take on the points raised by Jane here:
- Is Woody Allen an apt comparator for the HR profession?
- Are the levels of introspection/'navel gazing' seen in HR a good thing or a bad thing?
- And if the latter, what would you do to change the situation?
What does the Performance Advisor model of HR involve?
And if the concept of HR as Performance Advisor takes your fancy, Jane provides the following handy summary of what it might require of the profession:
[W]e just need to know enough about our organization's business to diagnose systemic obstacles to organizational performance, the credibility to propose solutions to decision makers, and the project and change management skills to have a hand in implementing those changes.Introspection in HR: The Whipper Snapper HR perspective
Does HR introspection in part stem from how the profession stands in relation to other areas of business?
A fascinating debate on the underlying reasons for HR's introspective tendency cropped up in the comments field for a post on Singapore-based Australian HR professional Sarah Miller's Whipper Snapper HR blog just last week.
Commenting on Sarah's post entitled Write the HR You Want the Next Generation to See, UK HR blogger Neil Morrison argues that HR needs to take into account the views of other business departments if it is to be truly effective.
Neil evokes the existentialists in his comment:
So the company all think that HR stinks, but the HR department thinks they're great....and that is ok? That seems the road to disaster. As Jean Paul Sartre once argued, "we are as others see us."In her response to Neil, Sarah speculates that the introspective tendency in HR could have its routes in a lack of acceptance by other departments that HR is a "necessary part of business" :
I wondered why HR as a profession talks about itself so much, like it's analysing every ounce of its worth and contribution and style and future so it will find true legitimacy and never be labelled a fad. Are the other professions doing it?
I decided no. The other professions in our offices talk about themselves as if they're already legitimate, and the self analysis is just in a different tone.
I agree that we do need to work towards greatness. An atmosphere of growth means that we're alive! But take for example marketing - constantly talking about the latest and greatest, the newest and brightest ways to do things. Why would they need to go back to the fundamentals of what they do, how they contribute, or how they should be representing their profession - if a marketer doesn't know his stuff, can't sell and fails, that's ok. Because that marketer is not representing the whole of their profession, the profession is already acknowledged as necessary part of business.I'd love to know XpertHR readers' take on these comments. Please do get in touch!
- Jane Watson: Performance Advisor - Vision of Christmas Future or Existential Crisis?
Head over to Jane's Talent Vanguard blog to read her excellent post in full. Follow Jane on Twitter.
- Sarah Miller: Write the HR You Want the Next Generation to See
Read Sarah's post in full, which inspired the comments-field debate with Neil Morrison quoted above. Follow Sarah on Twitter.
- Kevin J Ball: If I could change one thing about HR...
A very witty treatment of this perennial topic from Kevin J Ball. Follow Kevin on Twitter.