Category Archives: NZLEAD

HR professionals will not be the ones that change the world of work

“HR professionals will not be the ones that change the world of work”.

Usually when I talk to HR people about the vision I have for better working lives they look at me like I’m a little cray cray.

But every now and then I hear that statement above. And, I refuse to believe it. 

After attending TedX Auckland on the weekend, my little head is packed full of inspiration. I’m inspired that there is a better way. A better way of business, of living. These conversations are becoming more frequent, more profound and more powerful.

We are living in a world that is changing way faster than most HR people can keep a handle on. The way people digest information is shifting, therefore the way HR communicates and connects needs to transform. 

HR people, as soon as you think you’ve got your profession nailed, you don’t. Generally speaking, apparently in NZ we’re even more notorious for this. Digital is connecting us to the rest of the world, but we’re still behaving as if we’ve got this whole innovation thing covered with our no.8 wire mentality. It’s hardly the case when our maintained isolation is making as naive and uncompetitive. Time to start tapping into those digital connections so that we, in NZ, can really re-wire, re-form and transform.

To achieve this change, we need collective flow. But, within our NZ HR profession we’re definitely not collective. In conversing with recruiters and learning and development people about the NZLEAD unconference I’m hearing, “oh but that’s just for HR, I’m not HR”. I’m sorry, but when did creating a working environment where people are engaged in their work, happy, willing and able to perform, invested in what the business is trying to achieve, get put into an exclusive HR, Recruitment, L&D or OD bucket? 

You might also notice that I get really excited about progress within the HR professional space, a new institute and a forward thinking conference. But that doesn’t mean that the disconnect between the old institution and emerging groups does not sadden or frustrate me. We have more and more practitioners who are thinking, talking and doing HR practice in ways that are leagues ahead of the traditional. I struggle now to entertain the content and conversations from the old factions and probably vice versa. 

But as Riley Elliot said at Tedx, if you can capture attention and change understanding, then perceptions change. Riley was talking about sharks, but what the hey, the same philosophy can be applied to talking with people in business, and with others in the HR profession. One conversation at a time we can change the perception of HR.

“HR doesn’t add value to the business”, “HR people won’t realise this”, “they won’t be the instigators of change”. Call it naive or whatever. I believe different. 

I’m left with two thoughts from two inspirational speakers at Tedx. 

Firstly, Vaughan Rowsell from Vend. What’s the one impossible thing you’ve always wanted to do? Now do it. 

Secondly, Mike Allsop from Air New Zealand. If it all seems overwhelming, start with small parts. 

My small part is keeping conversations going, exploring the options, connecting people, slowly changing perception. Impossible is only impossible if you don’t try.