HR can feel like purgatory. How can we serve the needs of employees when we’re paid by the employer? How can we meet the needs of the organisation when we’re an employee? The contradiction! The cognitive dissonance! “Who are we?” I yell at the sun.
In Sapiens: A brief history of human kind (highly recommended) Yeval Noah Harari (2011 pp.183-4) puts forward a view that this contradiction is not only natural and needed, but is the breeding ground of change:
“…contradictions are an inseparable part of every human culture. In fact, they are culture’s engines, responsible for the creativity, and dynamism of our species…discord in our thoughts, ideas and values compel us to think, re-evaluate and criticize. Consistency is the playground of dull minds.”
So nestled in our contradiction HR should be perfectly positioned to drive change. But most of you knew that, or at least suspected it. We don’t need to ask to play on the swings. The playground is already ours. Let’s start the game. Challenge accepted.