It appears you're nobody these days unless you have a super-injunction. As the press play the “guess who” game, and our legal system plays catch-up with the social media aficionados, I'm struck by the parallels with an old chestnut topic of mine.
Is HR the champion of bureaucracy, or the core of morality in the organisation? Are we in HR best loved when we create loose rule books that line managers can effectively ignore with complete abandonment and treat staff inappropriately, or when we create a myriad of policies that tie our managers in knots?
This is a question that doesn’t really need answering. It’s what the new breed of writers call a cognitive polyphasia, or in my simple world, “the ability to hold conflicting ideas about the same thing”. We think our policies empower managers; they think they constrain them. We think we create an environment of opportunity; they feel we create a sterile workplace.
Just as the super injunction is a battle of privacy over transparency, I believe the contribution HR makes has become a battle of ethics over indolence. It was Ralph Naylor who said, “the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” HR leads by example in everything we do and this means not only everything we promote but also everything we allow to happen around us in our organisations.
If we allow our primal survival instinct to get in the way of what we know is right then we deserve the same fate as those whose secrets will all too quickly be revealed.
Stephen R. Covey, has often been quoted as saying “Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them”. I can’t help thinking that personnel (HR) leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your organisation to be congruent with them. There is never a time when HR can justify poor judgment. It is always the right time to do the right thing.
Joe Paterno is the college football coach at Penn State University. He has been successfully coaching football for over 60 years and is the most highly paid employee in the university. We might ask ourselves how come a football coach is the highest paid employee? I didn’t have to look to far for the answer. “Success without honour is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good." — Joe Paterno, college football coach.
I prefer my HR to be well seasoned with a good covering of integrity.