Looking back on my 16+ year career I can say that I have worked with some absolutely amazing organizations and people, spanning the globe, and have worked on some really interesting things. I have touched every single function within human resources, and have dived into marketing, business development, social media, information technology, speaking, blogging, business advisory, philanthropy, start-up life and entrepreneurship. There have been many ups and downs, but overall, my experiences have been full of rich learning, interest, excitement and challenge.
It is no secret that the HR industry is as dynamic and interesting as any other on this planet. At its core, HR is about mobilizing organized people towards common business objectives, whatever they may be. Definitely not an easy task when you have multiple generations in the workplace, full integration of technology into every single facet of business, teams and employees situated in all four corners of the globe, and a highly volatile and rapidly changing international business community. The role of HR practitioner is constantly evolving, and being challenged to stay current, while trying to delicately balance competing priorities such as employment legislative compliance, competing to attract and retain top talent, helping to achieve high levels of employee engagement, scaling processes to obtain cost efficiencies, and the list goes on.
From a personal standpoint, a cool thing about my career is that I have been fortunate to have met and worked with so many highly talented and connected thought leaders around the world. I have met many of them at HR conferences and have joined them in speaking engagements at many events in Canada and the United States. I have even organized over 30 industry events, starting with Impact99, then SocialHRCamp and DisruptHR Toronto. I have attended HRevolution, which we all know rocks. I have leveraged the instantly global access of social media to make new connections, exchange ideas, debate and support one another. I have had the privileged honour of sitting side by side with many of the top HR and Recruitment practitioners as fellow bloggers at major conferences such as SHRM, HR Tech, HRPA in Toronto, and many others. We don’t often talk about it, but I strongly believe that we each understand that because of our relatively sizeable audiences on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, our blogs and other online platforms, we have a responsibility to educate, teach, take the lead in striking meaningful conversations and stepping outside of our comfort zones as examples to our industry peers that the perceived impossible is in fact possible.
So what’s my point here?
Well… some of you may have been privy to a particular blog post that got a few of us a little bit heated recently. The post was a classic example of what tends to happen in our industry far too often. To be quite blunt, it was a situation where the author decided to abuse his perceived high status in the industry to trash, belittle and degrade the HR and Recruitment industry. To make matters worse, the article did not have one ounce of evidence to support his argument — evidence from personal experience or research. Nothing. The problem I have is HR and Recruitment practitioners are working tirelessly to move the needle forward in a traditionally laggard industry. But, we are making progress, and that’s all that matters.
Normally I could care less what non-practitioners say in public arenas because most of it is utter bullshit. Yes, utter bullshit! People know my stance on those so-called “thought leaders” who have spent little to no time actually practicing what they’re preaching. They’re great speakers, writers and storytellers, but on a scale of 0 to 100 their credibility is -1000. Sure I love to have conversations with them about ideas and philosophies because you can’t have progress without challenging the status quo, and ideas they have. But… but… when you throw these ideas through the “how do we make it happen” lens that’s where things often get murky. They’ve never done it before, and we practitioners know that the real challenge is to execute, lead adoption and measure for success. Strategizing and idealizing is the easy part.
So… if you are going to claim that “employer branding is b.s.” at least back it up with some real evidence from your personal experience and/or research. If you do that, regardless of whether I agree with you or not, you have credibility and I’ll listen to you. If you don’t do this, don’t belittle practitioners when you’re not one. Don’t stomp on other people. Don’t publish rhetorical bullshit. Don’t degrade others for your own gain. Damn it, just do the right thing and write responsibly.