15 Shades of HR #CIPD15

First of all apologies for paraphrasing the title of what must be this century’s worst successful book, if not ever. Neither is it particularly original, but then what is? I’m more sorry that via the existence of this blog post I’m going to have to admit that I’ve read the darn thing, if only to see what all the fuss was about. 

Equally as sad is the reality that much of what’s wrong with organisations today, highlighted by Professor Cary Cooper in the Opening Keynote of #CIPD15, look suspiciously like a bad parody of this terrible novel:

  • Punishing disobedience
  • Using command and control
  • Attempting to force loyalty
  • Emphasis on contractual obligations
  • Causing employees harm
  • Creating a culture of fear
  • Preventing clear communication
  • Suppressing openness
  • Making token commitments
  • Completely defining someone else’s role
  • Superficial relationships
  • Choosing the wrong person for the job
  • Setting a bad example
  • Not admitting your own flaws
  • Absence of concern for the wellbeing of others.

This depressing list could go on, but what is HR to do? There’s plenty of sobering statistics on fear kills productivity and how presenteeism is worse for business than absence. Unfortunately these don’t scare CEO’s or drive behavioural change. So what does?

The team who worry about what’s being said when they’re colleague goes into the bosses office and shuts the door, the manager who takes his work home and tells his kids he’s too busy to spend time with them, the employee who’s too scared to take a day off when they’re sick. These stories are real and are happening in organisations right now, but nobody dares tell them. Nothing is done about it for the very reasons outlined above. It’s plain wrong. HR pros need to make sure their organisation takes off the handcuffs.

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