HR Is a Lot of Things, But It’s Not Exactly Rocket Science

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Jul 29, 2014

I hear one thing over and over from people who read my stuff or see my presentations:

It’s not rocket science.

I take that as a compliment. I’m not trying to “wow” anyone with my big brain. I’ve never been known for being the big brain type. I’m the common sense, straight-forward type.

HR and Recruiting, to me, shouldn’t be hard and complex. It should be simple and easy to understand.

HR is not very complicated

That’s the problem. Too many HR and Talent Pros want to make it seem like “our” jobs are very complex and difficult.

This is natural and every profession does it. If HR is easy, you won’t be valued highly by leadership. So, let’s make it hard.

The last thing anyone wants to do is come out and say, “Hey! A monkey to do my job, but keep paying me $80K!” It’s very difficult culturally to come clean and say, “You know what? This stuff isn’t hard. It’s work. We have a lot to do. But, if we do what we know we have to do, we’ll solve this!”

But that’s HR and Talent Acquisition. It’s work. Many times, it’s a lot of work, but we aren’t trying to solve the human genome! We are trying to administer some processes, get our employees better, find ways to keep them engaged and happy, and find more folks who want to become a part of what we are doing.

That’s not overly hard. It’s not rocket science.

A lack of alignment with leadership

I think the complexity in HR and Recruiting comes into play with those of “us” not being aligned with what our leadership truly wants. Many times we flat out guess what we think they want out of HR. Sometimes, we assume what they want and try to do that. Very rarely do we actually find out exactly what they expect, and just deliver that.

There are number of reasons for this.

  • First, we might not agree with what our leadership wants or expects from HR. So, we give them what we want and expect from HR. This never works well, but is tried often!
  • Second, our leadership changes what they want and expect as they see better ways to handle HR and Recruiting. Change is a bitch, and it’s more of bitch when it’s happening to you.
  • Third, we might not have the experience to deliver what is wanted or needed. So, you get what we can give you.

This seems to be why delivering great HR and Talent Acquisition becomes rocket science.

What IS hard? How about dealing with expectations?

We simply can’t have basic communication with our leadership and some self insight into our capabilities of what we can actually deliver. Couple this with most people’s unwillingness to ask for help, because they fear others will look down on them for not knowing, and you’ve hit the HR rocket science grand slam!

HR isn’t hard. Recruiting isn’t hard. Dealing with expectations, and our own insecurities — that’s hard!

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.