Ignite HR 3: What If We Really Are Our Own Worst Enemies?

Today’s Ignite HR presentation is one near and dear to my heart, because it gets to an issue that everyone discusses but no one ever seems to do much about — what if HR really IS its own worst enemy?

This is a topic that gets a lot of attention going back to the famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) Fast Company article from 2005 titled Why We Hate HR? And, it is at the center of a debate that flares up from time to time that centers around one central question: what is HR’s key function to help drive an organization ahead?

Whether you fall in the camp that HR should concentrate on handling the basics and making the trains run on time, or, that human resources simply needs to be more strategic, or perhaps something else entirely, you are part of this ongoing and sometimes heated debate.

Why is there so much finger-pointing in HR?

Management consultant Carlann Fergusson got into this debate with her Ignite HR presentation at the annual HR Reinvention conference last November in Omaha and it was titled, appropriately enough, What if We Really Are Our Own Worst Enemy? It’s a provocative, thought-provoking chat that gets into why there is so much finger-pointing in HR — and, what can be done about it.

Her presentation also helps highlight what I believe is the real strength of the Ignite HR format that makes speakers work in s a tight structure of 5 minutes, 20 slides and exactly 15 seconds per slide. Yes, that’s pretty tight and rigid, but it leaves the attendee intrigued and wanting more from a good presentation, as this one is.

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If you believe, as Carlann Fergusson does, that “HR is the source of the problem” others have with HR, you’ll want to hear what she has to say. If you don’t believe that (or, think it is all just a lot of BS), you’ll probably still want to hear her talk because it has a lot of good insights about HR that you’ll want to get her take on.

We’re highlighting the seven Ignite HR presentations form the Omaha conference this week and next here at TLNT — the first two were I’m Sorry You’re So Ugly and  Positively Deviant Performance Improvement — and they all have something to say about HR and the art of talent management. For my money, they’re well worth spending a little time with.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.