Hey HR…Can We Keep it Weird?
I’m thrilled that next week I’ll be attending TLNT‘s Transform HR Conference. It’s the first one ever and I have no doubt, based on the line-up and the agenda, that it will be fantastic – a gathering of business leaders and HR professionals who want to challenge the status quo and push beyond the assumptions of what Human Resources is all about.
Fitting, therefore, that the conference is being held in Austin, a city with the unofficial slogan of “Keep Austin Weird.” When I hear “KAW” I think of a locale that embraces and celebrates the individual. I envision a city that encourages eclectic ideas, innovation, perhaps a bit of eccentricity and ultimately accepts and applauds diverse thoughts, opinions and viewpoints.
Now some folks, like my parents, jump to the conclusion that Weird Austinites/Austintonians are the liberal-dirty-hippy pierced-and-inked-freaks who are going to ruin the county (love you mom and dad!). But they may be interested to know that the slogan, while apparently originally coined by a writer, was adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to coincide with its mission of helping independent businesses compete successfully against corporate chains. BUSINESSES. Not necessarily what comes to mind when one thinks of liberal-dirty-hippies.
The foundational stuff we do in HR is important; if we don’t get that stuff right then we have no need to worry about anything else. But there’s no reason to be boring and safe and predictable. No purpose is ultimately served if cookie-cutter HR Departments are replicated across all spectrums of organization; the sort of HR that ‘fits’ YOUR company may not work for MINE. And there is certainly no need for HR people to take themselves so incredibly serious.
So I say let’s BE a little weird – let’s celebrate and encourage eclectic ideas and innovation. Let’s be a bit (ok – not too much now) eccentric and let’s most definitely applaud diverse thoughts, opinions and viewpoints.
To that end, I’m going to head off to Austin and earn some HRCI credits (bonus!), hang with a slew of smart and transformative HR people and hopefully get to chat with Billy Beane himself (maybe we can talk about Paul Molitor ….). And while compliance and FMLA and the ADAAA and the happenings at the NLRB are important and stuff I need to stay on top of, none of that stuff is on the agenda at Transform HR.
And I’m gonna come home and do my best to Keep HR Weird.