Friday, July 16, 2010

Does HR have a sense of humor?

A recent discussion with friends, led me to ask this question.

Does HR have a sense of humor?

My first reaction was, “Yes!”. Obvious choice? Not really. I really do believe that, since I’ve met HR people with a great sense of humor. However, many in the group disagreed. So I decided to ask this question to an open audience. One way to validate was to go out there and ask folks who have/are interacting with HR on a regular basis. Twitter provided that perfect platform to test the question and some of the replies I got are
here, here, here, here & finally here! Maybe my friends had a point, since it didn’t come as a surprise to them that most people think HR doesn’t have a sense of humor!

I’m not out to counter those replies, but I’m just as curious to know why folks feel the way they do about HR. One plausible answer could be, just maybe, most often than not, a company’s HR team is the first point of contact to people outside the company. It’s a huge responsibility to represent one’s firm/company in the right light. So that to some extent plays a part in taking away the funny side of HR. Another possibility could be that HR fears they won’t be taken seriously or considered to be professional in their approach towards work.

On second thoughts, a sense of humor is more a personality trait. It’s the hallmark of great salesmen or manager. Even good leadership relies on well-timed sense of humor to energize employees. So maybe it’s time to ask the serious-type HR folks to chill-out a bit. It’s possible. Heck! Even job-descriptions have sense-of-humor listed as a requirement for roles that have a client-facing function! I suppose we can categorize HR as a role that has client interactions too. No? Why then ask for something that one doesn’t follow? Beats me.

So here’s a message to all HR folks: Have fun! Spread some laughter. It acts as an ice-breaker.

Go break a leg! Figuratively, duh!

2 comments:

Vidooshak said...

Loved Prateek's tweet -- it sums up very well.

The funniest is to see HR managers who "think" they have a sense of humor; much like David from the UK version of "the Office".

One of the Dilbert books says that when the economy is down, the funny people are the first to get the slip. I have never met an HR person who smiled (unless there was bad news coming).

That said, I agree with the reasons you listed for HR being "on guard" at all times. It is a tough job and often thankless. Much like God's....

James | Employee Scheduling Software said...

I agree with Vidooshak.

When people are friendly, it makes them seem like they aren't 100% focused on work, and more about being social.

Many companies will cut them first because they want to cut the "fat", which may include them.

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