Having a mouth that moves faster than your brain can have both advantages and disadvantages. Like anything in life, you have to take the crunchy with the smooth. It was at the end of an interview with HR Magazine that I uttered the words, “Before I die, I want to make HR sexy, that’s my mission in life,” A phrase that has gone on to be mocked and criticised in equal measure. That’s ok, I’m good with that…..you don’t wear the shirts that I wear unless you have a thick skin.
Now clearly, I didn’t mean that I wanted the profession to don suspenders and a basque or to in any way physically get a little bit jiggy with their business. Only those with the stunted intellectual prowess of a failed Parisian artist dragging their sorry carcass from an 18th century absinthe parlour in the early hours of a fog soaked night would draw that conclusion. In fact, the idea that I, or indeed anyone, would suggest anything of this sort is just down right dumb and borderline insulting.
But that isn’t the main thing that struck me from the whole sexygate nonsense. It was more the slightly embarrassed self mockery that came from the profession itself. Like suggesting the awkward bespectacled geek or, the child of the orthodentist who takes too much of his work home with him, could actually become the prom king or queen. Who us? Get away. Clearly the person saying it is mad. Right?
Because HR doesn’t want to be sexy, it wants to be serious. It doesn’t want to be desired, it wants to be respected. It doesn’t want people to feel, it wants them to think. And that is the reason, why unless we change the way in which we represent ourselves, we will never be any of these things.
People have choices about the careers that they pursue, they take views from their friends and their families, from their tutors and advisors. Most people want to do something with their lives that makes a difference, that appeals to them on both an emotional and intellectual level. They want to do something with meaning.
HR for me is the profession that sees more of an organisation than any other, it is the profession that can systemically improve performance and deliver results and profitability, it can make people’s working lives better, it can drive innovation, entrepreneurialism and creativity, it can improve customer service, shareholder return and employee satisfaction.
And, if that wasn’t enough, it can be fun, lighthearted and even irreverent at times.
A profession that does all of this, that can improve the lot of all major stakeholders and be fun? Sexy?
I mean, really……that’s just stupid. Clearly I’m mad.
DISCLAIMER: The title of this blog post is in no way intended to suggest that any reader should in any way, physically, mentally or metaphysically perform any sort of inappropriate act or make any suggestion either orally, in writing or through the medium of contemporary dance that could be deemed inappropriate by any other individual. Always seek the consent of anyone with a 5 metre vicinity, before getting your sexy on.