Jan 16, 2011

HR's new role - Storyteller

The more I think about it - the more I am convinced that HR's real role is not to draft policies and processes, or even to hire and "motivate" people (how do you do that, seriously?)

As a blogger who's been blogging for almost 8.5 years, I have realised that HR's undefined role has to be a storyteller.

In fact, management and leadership is about storytelling.

Let me illustrate what I mean by storytelling.

Storytelling is the process by which you craft a narrative in which people see themselves as protagonists - which focuses on where they have come from and where they are going. It helps them to make sense of the chaos and hyper-information that they have all around them. Stories are the filters by which we make meaning for ourselves.

Each of us has stories inside of us, and there are narratives that we tell ourselves. In our stories we cast ourselves as the underdog/ hero/ bystander and by doing so we shape our own reality.

So it is with organizations. Each organization has a story - whether they acknowledge that or not. In my view, HR has to be the storyteller who links the organizational story and enabling people to make sense of that meaning.

Stories are great vehicles to communicate norms, values and behaviors than any dull corporate brochure.

And yes, I do think that these thoughts are triggered by Prasad's post on HR's role as Architects of Meaning.

What do you think? If HR people start seeing themselves as storytellers, what are the skills they need to learn and unlearn?