Share

Have you been reading the #HRBookClub books of the month? The selections are “Year of Yes” and “A Chance in the World.” You can read both books, one book, or something else. Who cares? Just read something.

I’ve been banging the drum about reading because people still pick on HR professionals — women and minorities — and say we’re not critical thinkers. Not a day goes by when someone doesn’t tell me that the future of HR is about “people analytics” or “machine learning” as if I’ve never cracked open a book and can’t understand the newfangled technology and how it will make work better.

I’m old enough to remember when Y2K, telecommuting, and MBOs were the future of work. Dammit, I’m old enough to remember when fax machines were the promise of a more efficient workplace. 

The funny thing is that books tell us that the future of human resources. And the future could be one of many scenarios: 

1. A dystopian nightmare where robots enslave human beings 

2. A utopian landscape where we no longer work for money, but rather, we’re given access to capital to think and create

3. A bifurcated society where both are happening and our communities must deal with income inequality, human rights abuses, and extreme poverty

When people talk about the future of human resources, they’re not pulling big ideas from books. They are parroting press releases from technology firms that explain the “how” and obfuscate the “why.” 

Payroll and human resources software will continue to evolve and merge into business-focused platforms that allow us greater visibility into productivity and revenue metrics; it’s happening because businesses are in a race to the bottom to reduce labor costs. 

History books show us that powerful people do abhorrent things in the name of progress. And if you’re not reading, you can’t identify patterns and see the warning signals of a human resources technology industry gone drunk on itself. 

So, I’m not asking you to read a massive textbook and create a technology-driven HR model for the future. I’m not even asking you to read a book about human resources. The #HRBookClub wants to help you develop a habit of curating better content in your life. We want you to invest your time and attention in better stories.

I hope you’ve been reading our #HRBookClub selections. We’ll be talking about both books on February 28th at 2 PM ET on Facebook and making more announcements about the book club. Hope you can join us!