Resources: Blog Post

October 2, 2015

Neuroscience an emerging component to HR

Ian's Morning Musing image

In my last blog, I referenced Peter Cappelli’s article in the Harvard Business Review titled, Why We Love to Hate HR… and What HR Can Do About it. It was a focal point for a conversation between several CHROs in an SCNetwork meeting and I have also had separate conversations with different HR executives about the article’s topic.

The debate revolved around the question as to whether HR too easily jumps on the bandwagon of new ideas that come from best-in-class organizations. One of the pet phrases doing the rounds these days, that seems to capture this sentiment, is “chasing shiny objects.” The question is whether HR searches for, and analyzes, any fundamental research that might actually lie beneath the innovative ideas about which we hear and/or read. I would note that there are more than a few CEOs, quick to impress, who are eager to jump on something they read in the HBR, or Fast Company, and remark, “we should do that.” However, the general consensus would seem to be that most HR departments are struggling to cope with current workloads, and there is precious little time to do in-depth research, and/or it is not required. Whether true or not, the more basic question is should we be more analytical?

Cappelli places an emphasis on HR needing to be much more selective and avoid things that he sees as being time-wasters. For example, he claims, somewhat courageously, that HR’s preoccupation with generational differences is a case in point. This is far too broad a topic to capture the various considerations in a few sentences; however, perhaps the bottom-line might simply be that if engagement and productivity are really key issues for HR, catering to millennials in isolation will only partially solve the problem. Moreover, if you did, would the other generational groups sit quietly by applauding HR’s efforts?

Norm Sabapathy, one of our SCNetwork members and an EVP of People, has recently written an article, which appears in Canadian HR Reporter, regarding performance appraisals. The title is Stop wasting time on achieved. His insights come from practical experience in the field and he makes the case that there are organizational gains to be had, IF we handled the process a little differently. In truth, you only have to mention the words, “it’s time to conduct the annual performance process” and the immediate groans awaken any HR practitioner to the uphill battle ahead of him/her. As the title implies though, there are elements in the process that waste time. I agree with him.

One of the big HR developments in recent days is in the field of neuroscience. It is insights in this field of study that have forced many companies to change their approach to performance assessments. It is certainly easy to jump on the bandwagon and say, “If Starbucks, or Microsoft, or many others, have decided it’s a good idea, that’s good enough for me.”

This past week, Josh Davis, PhD (Director of Research and Lead Professor, NeuroLeadership Institute) shared with SCNetwork members the deeper science behind how we learn and solve problems, regulate our emotions, collaborate with others, and facilitate positive change. It was an opportunity to re-consider some of our current thinking about long established practices within HR.

SCNetwork members who couldn’t attend or would like to relive the session, can access the full presentation in our online library.

Were you at our last session on neuroleadership? How can neuroscience advance your organization?
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About the AuthorIan Hendry headshopt
Ian Hendry is the president of the Strategic Capability Network. In his Morning Musings, he provides insight on issues facing today’s business leaders and looks at subject matter related to upcoming SCNetwork events. He is also VP HR & Administration at Interac Assocation.

Filed under: leadership, morning musing, neuroscience Tagged: analysis, leadership, morning musing, neuroscience
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