One of the BIG knocks on HR is that we tend to be rule people. We create rules. We encourage others to enforce rules. And, we even spend hours and hours sweating over an Employee Handbook which is “needed,” but few ever read (including HR folks).
Why do we do this? I mean it. Have you ever asked why rules are needed in organizations? Have you ever asked why we think rules define our profession?
I’ll be honest, I don’t get it. You see I’m very fortunate to be a father. I have two incredible kids (daughter – soon to be 20 and son – 16 and driving !!) When I became a father, I never recevied a rule book on what to do or not do. I had to see how things went and honestly make things up as I experienced more and more situations with them. My kids rock !! I know most parents say that, but both of my kids are honor students who are very involved in their schools, their communities, their family and their church. They never have had a rule book to work from either.
Do they have parameters? You bet. Do my wife and I show them methods and give them context around their actions? Absolutely. Do they get feedback? Inevitably and it’s both positive and negative. Do they get encouragement? Instantly and regularly.
What in the world does this have to do with HR ?? EVERYTHING !!!
It’s time that we break the rules that we feel will keep people in line and in order. We ask employees to bring 100% of themselves to work . . . but only if it fits within our set of rules. Think of how impossible that is. Do we think that if we eliminate the do’s/don’ts of the workplace that there will be unending chaos? I think we do.
The fact is just the opposite. We have confused “rules” with “structure.” People absolutely flourish when there are clear expectations of their role and their lives within the company. That should be the first benchmark of ALL organizations !! The next key is that they will perform to their full capacity if they have parameters and methods to do their work.
Rules focus on don’ts. Methods focus on how and why – enabling people to explore, succeed, stumble and thrive !!
The key to this HR, is that YOU have to be the rule breakers first !! This isn’t a program. This isn’t a dictate from Senior Management. It’s an opportunity for you to step out and tear down the walls that try to confine employees. I’m not just writing about this, I practice it. Join me. Let’s see how many rules we can break !!