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Actions Speak Louder Than HR Magazines

8th November 2013 - Posted By David Richter To News & Events
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In case you missed it Louisa Peacock wrote a damning piece about the HR profession in the Telegraph. Louisa's article kicked up a storm of protest from the Personnel Today community on Linkedin with members leaping to the defence of their profession. The trouble is that Louisa was actually news editor for Personnel Today for three years (2007 to 2010), presumably during this time Louisa met and worked with quite a few senior HR professionals. While the article is just her opinion it's an opinion we should take seriously.

That HR has a bad reputation isn't news at all. We've all known this for years haven't we?

In a study of over 400 C-suite managers by The Economist Intelligence Unit just 17% of respondents said that HR does a "good job".

good job graph

Even within HR over a quarter of Senior HR Professionals rate their own department as ineffective.

inffective graph

Most HR professionals that I've spoken to recognise the need to change, not just this perception, but also how HR departments function. To focus less on processes, policing and admin. Neil Morrison wrote an excellent 10 point agenda for change, if you've not read it yet you should.

Here's the thing. HR won't gain influence or improve its reputation by stating grand aspirations about being more strategic in HR magazines. It will only come through people within organisations directly experiencing the benefits of the work that HR does for them.

This won't happen overnight. Massive progress is usually made by loads of small, incremental improvements rather than sudden leaps forward. What does this mean within your organisation? Well, if you want to improve the perception of your department then start small, be specific and actually take some action that's tied to a business goal.

Having a long term strategy is crucial, if you don't you're destined to fail. But you also need to consider the best short term tactics to execute your strategy. The execution of your strategy is what most people will remember and judge you on and unfortunately it's this part of HR that has been largely neglected by HR magazines and blogs. This is the gap I want HRmoz to fill.
David Richter
Marketing Manager - Octopus HR
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Comments (3) - Add Your Comment Below...
Like Like_Article
5 years ago
I'm delighted with the launch of HRmoz and if it inspires one person to affect positive change in their job or organisation, in my view it will have been a huge success. I especially like this inaugural article as what David has done by creating HRmoz has embodied its own ethos. Great job David!
5 years ago
If this is truly independant then you should separate it from your commercial website. Problem is how do we know this is jut not a lead generation exercise for you ?, for example the information you ask for before a post can be made is quite substantial.
5 years ago
Hi HRPerson, thanks for your comment. I’m guessing that if one person is concerned about these things then there’s likely to be others in the same boat so I’ll try to address each of your points in turn…

1. If it’s truly independent…
I don’t think I’ve ever stated that HRmoz is independent from Octopus. It’s hosted on the commercial website as I do hope that it leads to building awareness and some affinity towards the Octopus brand but that’s not the sole or even primary reason for doing this. I could build the Octopus brand in other, more traditional ways e.g. advertising in HR magazines/websites, spending a fortune on exhibiting at trade shows etc. It would certainly involve less effort from me to build the Octopus brand using these traditional methods so why am I doing it as a blog?
• It feels right.
• I’m enjoying doing it.
• We want to give something back to the HR profession that has supported Octopus as a supplier.
• We’d like to be part of the conversation that’s shaping the future of the HR profession.
• It’s been a great way to meet some awesome people in HR.

2. …then it should be separated from our commercial website.
I suppose this comes down to what your concern is about independence.

If you’re concerned that I’ll only publish articles or comments that paint Octopus in a flattering light then you have nothing to fear. The proof so far is that your comment remains on the site. Equally if someone wants to post an article or comment that features one of our competitors then that’s fine too, the proof here is that in a few weeks I’ll be publishing an article from Simon Walker at My360plus (a competitor to our Performance Management module) that references Work.com (another competitor) and doesn’t mention Octopus in the slightest.

3. How do we know this isn’t just a lead generation exercise for you?
First point to make is that we’re not going to spam/cold call people who comment or submit articles through HRmoz. To do so would be hugely damaging to our brand. As this is a very new blog you’re mostly going to have to trust me on this but the proof so far is that…
• The content published in HRmoz is not about HR systems so any website traffic it generates isn’t targeted for a lead generation exercise.
• When we get people to sign up we don’t ask them if they’re currently looking for an HR system.
Obviously we love it when Octopus wins a client but we’re doing well enough that we don’t have to rely on spamming people who haven’t identified themselves as having a pressing need for an HR system to boost our sales figs. Chris, my Sales Director would kill me if I kept sending him on wild goose chases with leads that amount to no more than someone who just happened to comment on HRmoz.

4. The information you ask for before you register is quite substantial.
We ask for 4 pieces of information when you sign up so I disagree that it’s a substantial amount of information. The reasons for each piece of info are:
• Name and Username – So people can reference each other in their comments.
• Email – It’s used for logging in, sending password reminders etc. Eventually we’ll be building a feature that enables a commenter to be emailed if someone posts a reply to their comment so they can answer back. When this is built it will be possible to turn it on/off or toggle it to email every time someone posts a reply or as a once a day summary (much in the way Linkedin does)
• Password – Again, used to login to make a comment. Without this people could post comments on your behalf.

Apologies for the lengthy response, I hope it’s allayed any fears you have about commenting on HRmoz in the future and hope to see you commenting in the future.


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