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Back to Basics in HR

Back to Basics in HR

by Frank Roche on April 23, 2009

in KnowHR

baseball1When I was a kid we played outside. We played games that we made up. We played baseball using patches of dirt for the bases. We played the games and were our own referees. Our parents were nowhere to be found. And we didn’t need them.

What happened to us in business? Companies don’t start out with giant policy manuals and “annual processes.” Startups get moving and do the work. They don’t need rules because everyone knows what they need to do. They know how their actions affect company success. And their performance isn’t adjusted once a year — it’s done every minute every day.

Then the rules start.

Do you see kids out there today organizing their own pickup baseball game? Hardly. In what looks like an HR Farce, “self organizing” involves parents who make rules, tell kids they’re doing great even when they’re losing, and make it so that everyone is treated equally. Heck, I’ve heard of games where parents make other parents sign legal waivers before games can be played in their yard.

Sound a little like HR run amok?

Let’s get back to basics in HR. Let’s understand that the kids can organize their own games without us making the rules. Let’s let the winners win and the losers get better. Or kicked off the team.

Let’s think about the kinds of rewards we got when we were kids. We don’t need to tell people they’re doing great when they’re not. They get the greatest recognition from their friends. (Okay, we call them peers. Ick.). If you make it fun, they’ll play all day.

It’s time to get back to the basics. If you aren’t questioning every rule and your role as overprotective and overbearing HR parent, then you’re doing it wrong. Let the kids do what they know how to do. Take away the silly rules and you’ll find out they know how to do it right themselves already.

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