PunkHR – a new wave, a new breed, a courageous way

Posted: May 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

In my last blog I coined the #PunkHR phrase. It’s generated some enthusiasm and interest and the hash tag was a mild trend this morning in my enthusiastic morning exchanges. There’s no point in repeating any content which is the blog equivalent of re-runs of Location, Location, Location.

I got thinking about how tricky PunkHR is for some people. Being a rebel, having attitude and challenging every convention around you takes some courage. And the CIPD profession map says courage is an important part of our make up. And we don’t have to be a anti-organisationalist to be a rebel. We need to have that challenger spirit. Someting eloquently document by Khurshed Dhenugara and Claire Genkai Breeze’s book which I had the honour of reviewing last year.

So my call in this blog is to unpack the courage component of #PunkHR. After all, it took courage to don radical clothes, sport a Mohawk and adopt an alternative approach to life.

Courage in HR practice has many aspects. Courage to suggest unconventional approaches in the way people access and utilise learning; courage to believe in the autonomy of people in the workforce; courage to disagree with the business over its strategic imperatives; and courage to act on hunches and instincts you know to be right.

It’s still PunkHR though, as these are all establishment-bucking attitudes, where the energy is propelled by the sense of rebellion and where the dilemmas of individualism and belonging to part of movement beautifully co-exist.

There’s no guide book to being a PunkHR practitioner. It’s a way of life. There’s no degree to be studied. It’s expressing ability through actions. It’s not for amateurs. PunkHR is serious fun for people who believe.

#PunkHR is about standing out. That does take courage but when it’s what you believe in, it’s easier than it appears. HR is often accused of hiding behind process, not being “out there” enough and being maligned/misunderstood. If we’re going to be misunderstood, it might as well be because we’re being rebellious not because we’re deemed irrelevant.

So being a PunkHR practitioner is edgy but it’s not beyond anybody who want to shake things up. If you want to take an approach that’s so noticeably different, the attitude of PunkHR stands out. It’s not for the faint hearted but then when was any part of HR practice? People are fascinating, unique and sometimes high maintenance – that’s not for the faint-hearted.

Have the controversy of Johnny Rotten if you dare, the grit of Joe Strummer, the youthful exuberance of Paul Weller, the poetry of Elvis Costello, the lyrical swagger of Ian Dury and the style of Siouxsie Sioux. I’ll let Joe Strummer have the last word here

“Punk rock is meant to be our freedom. We’re meant to be able to do what we want to do.”

That is #PunkHR. Time for a pogo anyone?


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