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The end of H.R. and a new beginning as H.E.

Colin Hall, corporate veteran & Partner at Learning to Lead, speaking at DisruptHR Cape Town #7 on 3 March 2020.

Article reposted with permission from DISRUPT https://disrupthr.co/city/cape-town/


Colin Hall, Partner at Learning to Lead, is a corporate veteran and has lead over 60,000 staff in his 50+ year career. Here is an excerpt of Learning to Lead’s manifesto (of sorts):

“The Evolution of the H.R. Function… and its Successor? Namaste: the blessing of God that makes me unique, greets in awe and wonder that which His blessing made you unique… the God in me greets the God in you.

When I started work as a learner miner at East Geduld Gold Mine 60 years ago, my first stop was at RECRUITMENT… then the TIME OFFICE… then WELFARE (to be registered)… then to the STORES to get overalls, boots, hard hat and belt… then to the LAMP HOUSE for my lamp.

All that mattered was that I had passed my medical exam at the Chamber of Mines and that I now had a number! I was only a number! Only ever just a number!


Over the years, the Welfare Department became STAFF and then PERSONNEL…

Then it became HUMAN RESOURCES. Fancy title but what is next? HUMAN CAPITAL? H.R. BOT… A fascinating possibility, but digital and not human!

One day we will wake up to the fact that the most precious component of the unique people who make an enterprise successful, is their ENERGY — not their number. Not their physical fitness, or only their knowledge and skills, years of experience… But their ENERGY in the NOW.

We can clearly see that high energy colleagues far outperform those with low or negative energy. Every time. The same goes for high energy teams — the critical difference is that high energy individuals THINK and high energy teams THINK TOGETHER.

“The Human Resource department will reach a new level of significance in an organisation, or it will be replaced by something new.”

Oscar Wilde said it a long time ago… “to live is the rarest thing in the world…most people just exist, that’s all.”

All surveys show that up to 90% of people who come to work, or to college, or to Church, have left their energy at home — or worse, some bring negative energy and use it destructively. A recent report suggests that 20% or more of tertiary students are clinically depressed and need help. We have messed up badly at great cost! People are badly stressed. This, despite the huge investments that have been made in creating a positive work environment.

“We have driven the word and the concept of “MOTIVATION” to death.”

We have entered competitions to win awards as the best employer to work for. We tie pink or blue balloons to the desks of those who celebrate births and birthdays, we go away for expensive team builds, we organize raucous office parties, we have great canteen and recreational facilities, we offer Wellness sessions and we believe we pay well… But, it seems we have bluffed ourselves.

We think we can motivate our staff and our learners. That as a manager or a teacher, I am responsible and able to motivate those who work or study with me. That is a very expensive myth, because only I can manage my life and my energy for myself, holistically and sustainably. No one can do it for me — only I can master it, at home, at school, at play, at rest, and at work on a sustainable basis.

When those realities hit home, the H.R. DEPARTMENT will become proudly THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN ENERGY — and it will be the most important department in the organisation!

Better still perhaps. THE HUMAN ENERGY HUB.

It will know just how to to enable an organisation to empower itself. The teams within it can let energy flow freely amongst their members. Every individual in the team is responsible to master their own energy on a sustainable basis and to become fully engaged. H.E. will be the custodian of the organisation’s Energy Flows and therefore its ability to THINK and THINK TOGETHER.

“H.E. will drive the organisation not only serve it! And the customers will love it!”

I hope I live long enough to see at least the first one, and would love to play a part of making it happen for your team…”

Article reposted with permission from DISRUPT https://disrupthr.co/city/cape-town/