Are you a hoop creator?

I’m not a fan of Holby City, I’ve spent enough time in hospitals to not need to watch pretend ones. But I am a fan of Luther (why psychopathic cops chasing sociopathic criminals should be more attractive to me than hospitals is anyone’s guess). And it was whilst waiting for the latter that I caught the end of the former and particularly this quote,

“We need to complete this for HR, they like to make us jump through these hoops”

I tweeted it and the rest of the evening was spent messing about with Emma Vernon, Mervyn Dinnen and David Kelham (amongst others) on the topic of #hoopcreation.

We laugh…..but hang on sec….isn’t that what people see as us? And isn’t that because a lot of what we do IS hoop creation?

“We need to create a process for that” – HOOP

“I think we need to review the form” – HOOP

“We need a sign off procedure” – HOOP

Do we REALLY need these things? Or do we need to communicate better, to build relationships and to trust people? Are we covering our inability to influence with a series of hoops?

I’m going to challenge myself….and I challenge you… time you’re talking in this way ask yourself this, “is there a legal, regulatory or business critical imperative for doing this? Or am I just indulging in hoopcreation?” And if you’re feeling really brave, go and find some of those hoops you’ve already created and work out ways to throw them away.

I’m telling you, not only will the business thank you, you might actually free up some time to do something that adds real value. How about that for a win win?


  1. Gareth Griffiths · June 22, 2011

    Great post but a lot of what I see is that some managers will see hoops no matter what you do if it doesn’t fit exactly within the way that they want to do things.

    • Neil · June 30, 2011

      Gareth….I agree…there is an element of saying “everything is a hoop” but I also think that HR creates unnecessary hoopage!

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  3. Jon · June 22, 2011

    Not strictly relevant to HR hoopage, however I thought you would appreciate this as a great demonstration of how to (a) deploy hoopage or (b) ridicule it. Enjoy:

    • Neil · June 30, 2011


  4. Tim Rawson · June 22, 2011

    I generally agree. I try to have as few hoops as possible as an HR Manager with 465 staff. The less hoops the better. But we’re currently undergoing a SOX audit and all they’re telling me, is I need more hoops!

    Sometimes HR applies other people’s hoops…

    • Neil · June 30, 2011

      Yup audits are about control….but in the end they often don’t have the thought behind the recommendations…..I feel for you!

  5. cjudy · June 22, 2011

    some hoops are in fact necessary, but they don’t have to have a ring a fire surrounding them. we can still make those unfortunate (but necessary) hoops much easier to get through. but we don’t need any new hoops…that’s for damn sure. i like the term…a lot. it’s a good quality assurance tool: ask yourself at the end of every day: “Did i create any new hoops today?” luv it!

    • Neil · June 30, 2011

      Agree that some things are necessary and we need to make them as easy as possible….well said Mr. Bowel! 🙂

  6. Andrea Buzzell · June 22, 2011

    I appreciate the anti hoop creation mentality. I have been in environments on both ends of the spectrum and they create their own set of pros and cons.

    I do, however, love being seen as innovative with my lack of hoops in my current role. The flexibility (or just plain ability) to rule based on common sense is remarkable. Of course, my environment is ideal for this. Smaller business staffed with professionals who are as invested in their career as I am in their employment.

    • Neil · June 30, 2011

      Andrea what you are saying is exactly the point….thank you. And that is why smaller businesses are a hell of a lot more innovative and entrepreneurial than bigger ones.

  7. megp · June 29, 2011

    Why don’t we throw away the hoops and let the business work some stuff out for themselves, possibly by making mistakes, but isn’t that how people learn?

    • Neil · June 30, 2011

      Meg you’re spot on….that IS how people learn but we are too afraid of the mistakes that might be made.

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