Nov 30, 2012

Stories and Purposes for the HR Community



Over the last few weeks I have been having conversations with members of the HR community on attending the 16th National conference organized by the National HRD Network. The reasons for attending and not attending were interesting to hear. “I hope to carry one learning that I can implementThere’s hardly any learning” “There’s hardly any learning, I only go there for the networking”

Some would say that perhaps the HR community is suffering from “conference fatigue”. However, it is my belief that while that may be true, a conference like this is important for the dispersed HR community., which has its credibility and reputation questioned in organizations most of the time. It is a time for HR professionals to tell themselves stories.

Stories are not just entertaining – they are also tools for sensemaking of all the data and information we are inundated with. Stories are what adds meaning to experiences and gives us the space and time to step back and reflect. Many believe that values are communicated by myths in the form of stories across millennia. So what are the stories that HR professionals are telling in this conference?

In the first part of 29th November, the stories we heard (by the Young HR Thought Leaders paper presentation and the Best of Breed HR Showcase) were about thought leadership and innovation – of understanding how others and their teams faced an issue and had done something innovative to impact their businesses in a positive way. These are stories which I hope we will carry forward and spread – to learn from and spread positivity in the larger HR community.

The second half of the day was for stories for the future – of creating meaning and larger purpose for the HR Community. To stop thinking only in organizational silos and contributing to the larger community. About defining our role differently – from moving from drivers of engagement to becoming Happiness Champions.

Stories were also communicated by what was left unsaid - the lack of diversity in the conference speakers and lack of topics dedicated to the long term challenge to the HR community.