As obvious as it sounds, the fact that different people have different histories and lived experiences, based on everything from the physical location where they grew up to the mentality of their parents and loved ones to the color of their skin, is an important and powerful one.
The obvious implication is that there are truths that may not be known to some that are as plain to others as the freckle on one's nose.
So, in an effort to share my experiences and shed some light on things that are obvious to me, I am starting a series of blogs called "Tales of the Obvious".
The first formal installation in this series is about the Human Resources (or HR) Department of your current or past company.
Technically, Human Resource Management - the function of the HR department - is to maximize employee performance as it relates to the employer's strategic objectives. The HR department primarily uses policies and systems to optimize the management and output of people in the organization.
Nowhere in the definition of the HR department's mission is there a focus on the well-being of the employee or acting on the employee's behalf.
Yet, many employees assume that the HR department is their advocate when it comes to issues with the organization.
Based on over two decades worth of experience interfacing with HR departments in corporate America, in academia, in the startup world, and in the Federal government, the only thing that I have found to be true about the HR department is that:
The HR Department exists to 1) optimally align an organization's human capital with the efficient execution of its mission, and to 2) protect the organization's interests. Currently, any trust that an employee puts in the HR department with regards to the HR department fairly representing them before the organization's leadership is often mis-placed and mis-guided.
I have heard five stories from my friends over the last three days. Though these interactions are not representative of the employed population of the world, I was shocked each time I heard a friend say that they expected HR to look out for their interests, when it went counter to what was good for the business and its leadership.
Social Experiment: Don't take my word for it, ask your friends about their difficult HR experiences and how they ended up.
More importantly, this truth leads to an opportunity and a growing need.
The field of Human Resource Management is perfectly positioned to go through a renaissance and evolve into a field that is more inclusive - marrying impartial mediation, with employee advocacy and employer priorities.
The time is right for Human Resource Management 2.0 or 3.0 - where empathy, compassionate and advocacy are cornerstones.
What do you think?
What other things are obvious to you that you think people around you are not fully aware of yet?
Write your own blog about it and share it with me.
(This post is also available on LinkedIn)
Dr Tyrone Grandison
Executive. Technologist. Change Agent. Computer Scientist. Data Nerd. Privacy and Security Geek.