One of the most enjoyable roles that I fulfill outside the world of employment is that of Awards Scheme Judge (be that with Employee Benefits or Pay & Benefits magazines, or as Chair of the Scottish judging panel of the National Training Awards in the past). I always find inspirational examples of great practices and ideas that I’d like to ‘adapt and adopt’ (steal is too crude a word!) for my own main employment.
The process of giving honour and acclaim in HR
I always marvel at the diligence, integrity, professionalism and commitment of my fellow judges who give their own time so willingly. With such a robust process and talented and experienced practitioners involved, entrants can be assured that their submissions are treated seriously and with respect. If they emerge with public acclaim and recognition, they should know they’ve earned it. It’s always hugely satisfying to be involved in a process that ranges from the review of entries all the way through to attending the actual awards ceremony (which I had the pleasure of doing with Employee Benefits last Friday).
Everyday HR contributions
However, I would’t be entirely honest if I didn’t acknowledge that when I first commenced my judging experiences, my immediate reaction to some of the entries was: ‘So what? My company does that too and we don’t think of that as particularly special or innovative’. It took me a while when I started judging to set that mindset aside, but what helped me do this were two observations and one overwhelming conclusion:
Firstly, some of our own company practices were actually of a good standard and rather than saying: ‘So what?’ the correct reaction was: ‘Can we enter and be considered too?’ I know that the phrase: ‘You’ve got to be in it to win it’ has already been over-used, but there is a truth to that sentiment.
Secondly, it’s always important to look at the context and the business impact of each entry. Some otherwise obvious innovations have proven to be hugely impactful within businesses despite limited resources and many hurdles have been overcome to bring an idea to life. It’s always appropriate to at least consider the context before rushing to a conclusion.
And the conclusion? Too often the temptation for the HR community is not to give enough appreciation to what may be regarded as the everyday activity. If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard the expression: ‘That’s just the day job’, I would be enjoying a considerable uplift to my personal wealth. The day job, in fact, consists of activities and initiatives that help organisations to function, to perform well and to grow and without a hint of complacency. I think there’s a case for celebrating what some may regard as the ordinary. Often the so-called ordinary can ensure the survival and success of an organisation. Providing we ensure that we can always justify what we deliver, it’s too easy to overlook our everyday HR contribution to the business effort.