I Told You So

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, March 7, 2011

Next month, Laurie Ruettimann and I will be presenting "Pop Culture, Politics, and HR" and the 3rd rendition of HREvolution in Atlanta, April 29.  With the multitude of options and topics, you may be wondering why we are having this discussion in a session, instead of over drinks in the hotel bar?

The relevance is big picture HR.  People should be stepping back in our session and asking why they are in this field.  What was one of the biggest HR books in 2010?  David Ulrich's "The Why of Work."   Our presentation essentially gets to "The Why of HR."

Why do we go to work?  Is it simply a paycheck?  Is there a social aspect?  Why do we worry about survivors during a layoff?  Why does morale go down?  I'm still collecting a paycheck, but my friend(s) are no longer there.  As Ulrich indicates, through work, we seek a sense of purpose, meaning, value, and contribution.  What contributes to that purpose?  Does pop culture help contribute to that sense of purpose?

Recall a few years ago when Gallup looked at the elements of great managing.   One of the central questions in their survey was "Do I Have a Best Friend at Work?"  Work is social.  Pop Culture is social.  I go to work to talk to my best friend about basketball, my troubles, union busting in Wisconsin, my love life, Charlie Sheen.

One of the central terms at my workplace is vocation.  What is the vocation of HR?  What is our calling?  Are we corporate lackeys merely enforcing its restrictive and punitive rules? Are we creating a workplace where workers can share ideas and feel welcoming?  Does the latter even matter?

So, we tie all that together with a discussion of MTV's Skins and being a rockstar from Mars.

Only a few tickets remain for the event, so sign-up now.

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