If the past couple of weeks have taught us, as a society, anything at all, it is this: underestimate the power of the people at your peril.
The rioting that enveloped public interest last week started off on a north London street, and spread like wild fire throughout the entire country, threatening at times to completely destabilise the society and communities that we all live within.
There was an uprising, from city to city the word was spread and the pictures on the news seemed to only galvanise people into taking action against the establishment. But let’s be clear, this was a mini-movement there was a huge energy within the groups of people that smashed and looted for hours on end, and at times that energy and focus was frightening.
It highlighted the power of people, and anyone who works in an HR role should know that ‘people’ are an awesome force.
Then, a week later, the picture emerged of ‘people’ once again. But, this time it was masses bringing calm and peace back to the street – whether that was through a clean-up operation, a march, or a peaceful protest, the energy that surged back towards those destructive groups was clearly evident again.
If anything, watching the two groups at work made me remember just how important the HR function is, not just at rewarding and motivating, but at recognising the force that people have, and that at any moment, if not handled with care and skill, have the power to be just as destructive as they can be constructive.
There is no stronger asset as a member of HR, than to understand and communicate well with employees – perhaps this was a failing of the establishment in recent times. And, while many claim to have a good understanding of culture and employee behaviour, it’s never that straight forward.
Use the rioting that spread so rapidly and dangerously as a warning that constant people management and clear communication is vital.
Elva Ainsworth is managing director of performance management software and services provider, Talent Innovations.
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