Defence of the #HR Dark Arts

As Harry Potter fever is about to strike again it only seems fitting that I do an unintentionally clickbaity blog on the Dark Arts. It’s like magic. 

I was lucky enough to do a workshop last week with Rob Briner. The aim was to give some folk the will and the tools to be a bit more structured in the way that they utilise evidence in what they do. I described it as a 3 hour session on using common sense. Some more thoughts from me are here – and if you haven’t seen the Centre for Evidence Based Management’s website you can find that here

One of the the questions at the end of the session was wonderfully practical, it was ‘My organisation loves fads and quick wins, how could I ever get them to use these approaches?’ 

This is where I sometimes think we can be a bit more creative and use some smart marketing. Where we can be a little bit disingenuous in service of a bigger win. 

My suggestion is that you serve up an evidence based approach (not new or faddish) as the next big thing. Serve it up under the guise of all that is trendy and cool and of the moment. Use all of the tricks at your disposal to make sure your organisation is spending its energy on things that are most likely to make a difference. 

I suggest telling them that evidence based management is what Google is doing. I’d suggest telling them that you had just been to a conference and everyone is talking about it. I’d suggest telling them that you heard the CIPD’s next research report on Performance Management has been done with the support of the Centre for Evidence Based Management. I’d suggest you tell them that HR’s most influential thinker talks almost exclusively about this area. I’d suggest you point out it isn’t all about research –  it’s also about organisational data and your experience. Tell them it’s a doughnut, when it’s really most of their daily vitamins. Go and speak to your marketing and internal comms teams and find out what they know about influencing. Be smart and stretch what is possibly in your organisation. 

In short, I’d do the smart things to get some good stuff across the line and into daily usage in your organisation. Understand and deploy the Dark Arts in a good cause. 

The CIPD are doing more work over the next year on ethics. I think I’m ok on this one – I might not be. I just know that time is the most precision of organisational resources and the most precious in your career. So when you are thinking, rather than reacting, that has to be good. A little darkness in search of the light. 

I always think HR should be relentlessly pragmatic as well as aspirational. Critically assessing evidence is key to that. 

Credit for the picture as always to the exceptional Simon Heath 

#workoutloud week. #WOL

It’s Work Out Loud week and you can find a good summary of intent and good practice from Helen Blunden here

For my part I know that with my organisation’s biggest event of the year #CIPDACE16 taking place I’m unlikely to find too many opportunities to share beyond Twitter. 

So I thought I’d share, proactively,  a list of things I haven’t got around to. Some of you may find this list baffling because you are veritable productivity machines. 

Me? I always have more ideas than time and that will probably always be the way. This blog is to give other people in that space some company. 
Here’s what I haven’t done yet

  • Blog on the gig economy, democratisation of the workforce etc explaining that the terminology is unhelpful. I’ll do a little grid, it’ll be great. . . 
  • Publish a blog on Byron Burger and THAT  incident. It was written a month ago
  • Write a book (I have 4 ideas I haven’t progressed) 
  • Publish all the answers to my 50 questions about the #futureofwork. This will be done next week
  • Publish blog on Pokemon Go. Finished two months ago but didn’t want to look too opportunistic
  • Go through every deck I use and add clear referencing for anyone sent them
  • Sent one of my mentees dates for a possibly next meeting (sorry dude) 
  • Completed a full presentation on project management lessons from the production of Jaws
  • Registered as a speaker for the next #DisruptHR

It’s not a to-do list. Like much of life a mixture of failure, prioritisation and good intentions. 

One thing I can commit to though is that in my day job we’ll continue with the Ask Me Anything sessions we’ve been running for the people we support -and being honest in the responses. 

Because Working out Loud isn’t just for just before Christmas.