In this mini series, I’m going to count down 10 HR tips as seen through the eyes and ears of Punk Rock. A kind of "HR Top of the Pops" but without the DJ. No need to pogo whilst reading these unless you must. Punk HR refers to brevity, simplicity and purity of thought in HR. For more on all this, ping me a note with PUNK in the title to claim your free gift – a copy of my micro book – Punk Rock People Management.
# 10 – What do you want from life? – The Tubes
THE PUNK HR POINT – The Tubes’ revolting anthem on happiness in life and work, coming out of observations on their fans opulent lifestyle in San Francisco, points out that consumption per se does not lead to happiness. So, rewards given without there being some basic desire for the reward are worthless. We did not need The Tubes or the happiness movement to tell us this. All we had to do was to look carefully at Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory of Satisfiers and Dissatisfiers. Somehow The Tubes’ message is more potent. In more recent times, Radiohead did something similar with "Fitter Happier".
# 9 – Blank Generation – Richard Hell and the Voidoids
THE PUNK HR POINT – This is perhaps the first and only time that Punk Rock and Gary Hamel will find unity … Hamel recently said that "HR must help kill bureaucracy and encourage greater innovation within organistions". Why? That comes down to the ‘blank generation’, aka people who are actively disengaged from work. We don’t need engagement taskforces to know this – it’s punk rock common sense. Less obvious is how to achieve that innnovation in HR, which, after all, is usually part of the risk reduction part of the enterprise. I spent a third of my life working on scientific innovation and quite a bit of time watching people wringing their hands about innovation on the CIPD Council and frankly, I don’t see innovation as a core HR competence.
# 8 – Oh bondage, up yours – X-Ray Spex
THE PUNK HR POINT – Poly Styrene’s point was really all about female empowerment or girl power. This applies just as much to the guys. As Poly says "Bind me tie me, Chain me to the wall, I wanna be a slave to you all, Oh bondage up yours". Simply put, if you want to get extra performance out of people, stop controlling every last detail of people’s performance through lengthy job descriptions, KPI’s, SMART goals for everything, yada, yada …
# 7 – Public Image – Public Image Ltd
THE PUNK HR POINT – "You never listen to a word that I said, you only see me for the clothes that I wear" Do we look past people’s appearance towards their knowledge, skills and attitudes in interviews, appraisals etc? After all, it’s those things we desperately want rather than an illusion. In an age where virtually everything is choreographed at work, remember that Steve Jobs would probably have failed an interview at Apple.
Counting down to number 6, 5, 4 next time …
Picture by Lindsay Wakelin Photography