Human resources departments block creativity, stifle independence, and thwart passion. They are a major barrier to innovation and must be re-engineered.
When I asked for financial support for attending these confferences, the first response was, "No. There is no precedent set for supporting more than one conference in a year per employee." I re-explained the cost-benefit equation, and the next answer was, "No. We do not want to set the precedent for supporting more than one conference in a year per employee." More explanation proceeded. The next response was, "If you pay for it yourself, you will have to take vacation time." I did not have enough vacation time to take. "Can we make a deal, then? I'll pay the registration, the airfare, the hotel, and the per deim if I can take the time as workshop time." "There's no precedent set and we do not want to set the precedent. If you are gone from work and you do not have the time to take, you will be docked the pay and possibly lose your job."
Trust was broken. I was afraid to go to these conferences without consequences, but I knew the payoff would be amazing. The HR department was stuck in old ways of thinking and could only make decisions based on traditional senses of tradeoffs and fairness that stifled progress. I had difficulty maintaining my passion for my work knowing that the human resources department was not buying into my dream of working for them at the highest level of my profession. My immediate supervisor was very supportive and I did find a way to achieve my goals. But my success was in spite of the Department of "No!"
After dissolving the central hierarchy, my solution is to distribute the people supporting HR functions out among the workers. Empower these staff to work alongside of the worker bees to learn about their passions, to support them, and to provide creative solutions to their work. Open up the tight rosebud and let the creative juices flow both ways.
Redistribute some of the corporate bonus money to the HR departments to give them the flexibility to implement some of these creative solutions.
Engage the workers in an HR forum to share ideas and strategies that have been successful.
Break down the Department of "No!" and nourish the distributed model of HR. Let the HR folks fulfill their destiny and passion for helping people by taking them to the people they support.
Thank you to my supervisor and my colleagues who enabled me to achieve my goals.
And to my partner, D.E.C., I extend my thanks for listening to me as I shaped my thoughts about this barrier.