In April 2014, Amazon created a buzz by announcing adoption of the ‘Pay to Quit’ policy from one of its subsidiaries. Elsewhere, Hubspot openly acknowledges its culture deck being influenced by the practices at Netflix as well as the Google People Operations team, in addition to a variety of management books in the industry. Earlier in October, LinkedIn jumped on to the bandwagon of organizations offering unlimited vacation time. What do they have in common? Each has made a decided effort to look beyond the boundaries of their organizations.
We’ve heard multiple times that to gain a competitive advantage it is important to pay attention to what’s happening outside the figurative four walls of the organization. The question each organization must ask itself is this; “Are we doing enough?” How easy it is to lose oneself in the frenetic daily rush and forget to take time out to partner with the outside world. And it really is a partnership because it requires as much time and vigor as you would invest partnering with your business, employees or any other function. Organizations around the world are making path-breaking moves to take people practices to the next level. Irrespective of whether these organizations are similar to yours or whether their practices are replicable, ‘watch and learn’ should become an important phrase in your life.
For the reading aficionado, business books, blogs and research papers are a good place to start. Indeed the internet is a wonderful source of information. Even if you aren’t a fan of the written word, blogs are a quick and excellent way to stay updated on not only what’s happening but also opinions of HR professionals from different parts of the world. It only takes subscription to a few of your favorite sites to get a daily dose of much needed reading. However, as much as I love these sources, they do need to be supplemented with more.
As Steven Johnson puts it - "Chance favours the connected mind." He goes ahead to say that eureka moments are very, very rare. Many of us may hold half an idea and unless we collide with someone who can help complete it, it may lie in gestation for far too long until its time has passed. It is for this reason alone that I encourage you to get out there and attend as many conferences, meetups, workshops, and networking events as you can find. Use every possible opportunity to pick another’s brain. Even if it isn’t for a big idea, two way interaction is a great way to learn about what’s happening in the world around you.
Often as HR professionals, we tend to put on blinkers and believe that we can learn only with those in the same field as us. HR has so much to learn from finance, marketing, behavioural economics, psychologists and even stand-up comedy. You never know which field will inspire the next big idea.
We do live in the best of times. In this age of connectivity, it has never been easier to look beyond boundaries. If you ever wanted to know what’s happening in the world, share half an idea, collaborate or give back to the community, this is the era to live in. Remember the frog and well story? Well, it isn’t prudent to be that frog in this day and age.