What if the wheel doesn’t work?

I’ve been working in Human Resources for the last 12 year and have always been inspired by the opportunity we have to shape the organizations for which we work. However time and time again I’ve been disappointed by how we always end up looking for a proven model or a recipe that we can implement, always looking for catchy new names for old or recycled programs, and still after decades of having been accepted at the big boys’ table we’re still looking for approval and validation.

Over the years HR practices have grown over-complicated more focused on meeting some metric than on being a true enabler of people’s happiness at work. We seem to have forgotten that regardless of the reasons why people work everybody wants a chance at getting better, a fair pay for a job well done and to be able to have a good time at the place where they spend a third or more of their waking hours. How did we HR veer so much off course? We overwhelm employees with unnecessary paperwork because we don’t have time to figure out how to run paperless operations, we submit them to HR processes that only make sense to HR folks who in turn spend most of their time convincing people that it’s worth the effort, and we try to govern them with complex workplace policies that only succeed in treating people like inexperienced children incapable of behaving like professional adults.

Over the last 5 years I’ve been told more times than I can count that we don´t need to reinvent the wheel. But what if the wheel doesn’t work anymore? What if the car is stuck in the mud?

I say we start over! We take a clean slate and re-think what HR should be all about. I say we focus our collective energy in building workplaces that make people happy. Not more productive, more engaged, more efficient, more skilled, more resilient, more innovative, more competitive, or more adaptable. Just happier. Happy people are amazing and have the power to do amazing things.

Before you start telling me all the reasons why we can’t do it. Before you describe all the corporate barriers to my idealistic vision, I invite you to dream for a little bit. To imagine what getting up in the morning would feel like, what the drive to work would feel like, what coming to your office would feel like if we were happy at work and if we were actively working to make others happy at work. And now tell me if it’s not worth the effort to reinvent the wheel.

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