Friday, 4 March 2016

#HRGV2016 HR Grapevine: Is HR logical or creative?

I'm looking forward to the event firstly as I admire HR Grapevine's nerve in using the left and right brain idea.  Most HR practitioners probably think this still applies to the way people think (no disrespect but just a recognition that the profession isn't always as up to date as it should be) but there's a small minority who knows it doesn't (though there are still certain differences in the two sides I think) and who are very proactive and vocal in shooting down anyone who use the term.  And of course there are those of us who understand it can be used figuratively without implying anything about the structure of the brain.

Secondly the need to be creative as well as logical was one of the themes we explored in the Art of HR conference in 2014.  I thought this event really brought out of the opportunities of, and I certainly felt inspired by HR's creative, right brained side.  I'm looking forward to more stimulation at the event next week.

In fact HR Grapevine have also looked at the issue of artistry and science.  That's not quite the same as the difference between being logical and creative (as both art and science need but logic and creativity) but there's clearly a level of connection between the two.  Science is more logical and art more creative.

As comments from HR practitioners suggest, we do need both.  To be both logical and creative, scientific and artful.  But I still suggest, as I did around the Art of HR event, that the priority for the profession at the moment is to focus on our creativity and artistry.  That's partly because the big problems in organisations at the moment are mainly about a lack of humanity - evidenced by low levels of engagement etc.  And also because HR profession seems to be moving in completely the opposite direction, becoming obsessed with measures, analytics, and it's own credibility within a business.

To be cold, clinical, observant, precise and law abiding surely can't be the basis for our future?  Even in analytics, the core need is to demonstrate validity not reliability.  But cold management of people as if they were widgets is going to spell doom.  The rest of business management may often be cold but that doesn't mean we need to be.  Instead we need to convince the rest of the business to be a bit warmer.  More emotional, creative and artful in their management of people.

In fact many business leaders and managers already understand this need.  If HR doesn't get with the programme there's a real risk we'll pass each other light ships in the night, with HR taking responsibility for people analytics, and Finance being given accountability for love, empathy, passion and everything's that important in an organisation.

Let's see where we get to next week...

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