Could this not be the mantra of just about every Human Resources Department?
Ok…I can’t just pick on HR. “Talk is cheap” could also, let’s face it, be sewn on a pillow and tossed on the couch of our friends in Marketing, Finance and Operations. It’s the slogan many of us operate with in this day of fewer resources and limited time…no matter our function.
But this is an HR blog and I’m an HR Lady so I must speak to that which I know. And I know lots and lots of human resources leaders, practitioners, pundits, and, spare us all, bloggers who talk a good game and deliver bupkes.
The most glaringly obvious example (which you’ve seen if you’re a regular reader of HR blogs or just about anything on Forbes that proclaims to be authored by an “expert”) is when folks who have spent approximately 6 months working in a job tangentially related to HR or recruiting or people management attempt to position themselves as experts. They dole out advice, lecture experienced professionals on how to “do HR,” and toss out witty bon mots when they have barely (like barely!) spent more than 2080 hours – in total – working in an actual human resources job.
Cheap talking also occurs when HR professionals over promise and under deliver. When they fail to listen – truly listen – to the people who work in the organization and instead choose to blather on about “engagement” and “mission” and “goals” in a self-righteous frenzy of self-importance. These are the folks who issue email edicts and talk over everyone whilst sitting in their locked offices with a Policy Manual in one hand and a red marking pen in the other hand.
This kind of junk HR/junk management affects people’s livelihoods, careers, and emotional wellbeing. Help us all 6 lb. 8 oz. baby Jesus and/or baby Moses.
But talk doesn’t have to be low-cost or of the bargain basement variety. Talk, when it’s flowing sideways or from bottom-to-top, is valuable. Leaders and HR professionals who have human and real conversations aren’t playing any cheap tricks.
Those folks are priceless.