Thursday, 10 January 2008

Using the language of people

In my last post, I advised moving from HR’s current focus on using the language of business to the language of people. This is a language based on emotions and stories that resonates with employees.

There is a good article which relates to this in today’s FT, comparing the oratory of Barack Obama to the US’ other Presidential candidates. Have a look here.

Business language is good for driving efficiency and effectiveness, but it does little to gain people’s engagement. HR's going down to the wrong road if its just tries to become more and more business-like. As I’ve said before, what it really needs to do is to encourage and develop the rest of the business to speak the language of HR, or really the language of people and relationships.

(I do, by the way, see the irony in this recommendation when I’m more guilty than most in often using very technical and not particularly inspiring language. What can I do? – I’m trying, but I'm still an engineer at heart.)