A #PunkHR Renaissance.

Posted: June 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


A guest blog from Damiana Casile (@Damiana_HR).


It is with great pleasure that I can host Damiana’s first ever blog – a marvellous piece of work and an honour to feature it on adjusteddevelopment.  Please read on…thanks.  Perry

History repeating?

As some of you might know, this is my first blog post and while I had started writing about something completely different, I found myself on a couple of planes en route to hometown Milan and I changed my mind. A strange comparison came to mind and while on that flight I entertained the idea and started writing. I thought about when I was a student in Italy and how different the job market was. I feel that right now it is evolving, growing and transforming the individual to an insignificant puppet. Because of this, as a paradox, I’ve realised how important the centrality of the human being has become. Being Italian and passionate about history and history of art, I’ll attempt a parallelism that I’m sure has been attempted before.  The spell we are going through resembles the origins of one of the most prosperous and thriving historical periods of all time: the Renaissance.

The Renaissance marks the beginning of modern society and during that period the idea of the man moulding his own destiny “homo faber ipsius fortunae” (the man is the blacksmith of his fate) was a central one and one that I personally really like. The renaissance was also a time for great inventions like the movable type printing that greatly increased the quantity of books, helped eliminate transcript mistakes and transformed mental effort in a shared activity that led to debate instead of solitary learning. During the Renaissance new lands were discovered and products, customs and knowledge brought to the western world.

These two examples, resounding and characteristic of the Renaissance period can be compared to what is happening today. I like to think that the movable type printing is the Internet and social media that is now allowing us to share data, information and knowledge as much as we like and with whom we like. This is now a collective process and I have got no problems in admitting that recently I’ve learned more from tweets and blog posts than I have in any other way. The discovery of new lands can be easily compared to the recent global market and globalisation where products, services and exchangeable goods influence and change local cultures. Anyway, I’ll stop sounding like one of the essays I wrote a couple of years ago…

In this age of constant and total change some fundamental principles are going topsy turvy. I remember ten years ago, when I was still in Italy and surrounded by a family of entrepreneur, the only investments that were ever considered were in machineries, manufacturing plants, capitalisation. This was what determined the growth and success in the job market. Now I feel that this has radically changed. The lever of efficiency, change and company growth is more and more in the hands of the employees. A company will be led to success by its human resources in the sense of technical competencies, initiative and creation of solid relationships with clients and suppliers.

So the modern entrepreneurs need to realise that the game is being played on an unusual and completely new pitch; a pitch where they will have to tackle new values and theories. The challenges that many are facing include embracing change and developing a new way of managing people. This is not an option anymore, it’s an obligatory passage.

Now more than ever all companies can and should be transforming people’s passion and their emotional intelligence into an opportunity to reinvent themselves. This can happen only if all attention is directed to the employees by spending time on their development, drive and by sharing goals, ideas and achievements with them.

When a business decides to direct the attention to factors that value their human resources it will soon realise that this will create the chance of having employees loyal to the company and to its mission. Obviously we cannot expect that every single employee will become a central figure or one of extraordinary importance. As the Renaissance teaches us, only a few became artists and men of science and culture of global significance.

To be fair, during the Renaissance many became good, if not excellent artists despite remaining in the shadows. Yet, they too have left an indelible trace of their passage: a great contribution to cultural transformation. They deserve praise for having created something unique and extraordinary.

The Renaissance forged real talent because it used an improvement and growth system where people could learn, develop and access the knowledge that was gained through apprenticeships. They would learn from someone better and more experienced. That person would identify the qualities of the promising youngster and make them emerge.

Some of you might say that it takes a great deal of optimism to affirm that there is some sort of resemblance between now and the Renaissance period. Possibly a bit of madness too! However I am convinced that we find ourselves in a time when only businesses that are forward thinking will find themselves in a position of great advantage. Personally, I’d like to think that HR professionals are farsighted, I most certainly am. Do I work for a farsighted company? Not quite and that’s a whole different story… Will they start investing in people? Hopefully. Am I seeing improvements? Yes, everyday.

Am I making the difference? Yes!

One small brushstroke at a time makes a masterpiece…are you ready to take up the challenge and become a new renaissance professional?

  1. ChristopherinHR says:

    What an interesting and profound idea! So glad you explored it Damiana. Grazie

  2. Congratulations, Damiana! What a superb, interesting and well-informed post…and all the more impressive for your blogging debut, too. Can’t wait to see what you come out with next!

  3. Fabio Rizzi says:

    Hello Damiana. I am delighted to read your first post. You make me think about many different aspects of this new Renaissance. I agree with you on the idea that these are important years (at least because they are the ones in which we are living). Just a provocative question… do you think that the new Donatello is already born? Will we discover him before or after his death?
    All the best for your life and career. Hugs.

  4. Ian Welsh says:

    Hi Damiana, A great post with great logic. I love the comparison between the printing press and the internet. In some respects the printing press was more significant. It challenged the monopoly on information by the Church as alternative and classic literature was released and prompted philosophical discussion about human values and equally about the Church itself. Today we have masses of information, but the value is in how we use it. Thought control is not as direct as previously practiced by the Church, but is now more through propaganda marketed by those with the power and the money and the vested interest to keep things the way they are. If there is to be rebirth, we must have the freedom of thought to challenge anything, not necessarily to reject, but to understand well enough to develop an informed opinion.
    Just some thoughts. A really great and stimulating post.

  5. […] Damiana Casile: A #PunkHR Renaissance A fascinating, learned post arguing that the relentless, unignorable pace of change transforming modern society and the workplace has distinct parallels with the Renaissance era. And this, of course, opens up significant opportunities for HR. This piece is all the more impressive when you consider that it is Damiana’s first ever post (presented as a guest post on Perry Timms‘ Adjusted Development blog. Two excellent ‘soundbites’ from this post: “The lever of efficiency, change and company growth is more and more in the hands of the employees.” and “[R]ecently I’ve learned more from tweets and blog posts than I have in any other way.” Follow Damiana on Twitter. […]

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