Having a career in HR is tough. We spend most of our time in battling for priority, resources, time and voice in the organizations we belong to. Then we have to defend the policies, practices and decisions of the same organization to employees and enforcement entities. HR professionals are under-trained, over-worked and often burn out in discouragement and frustration. Many would say a career in HR is for the birds!
This month, the Buzz on HR is going to look at lessons management can gain from the birds. Part 1 looked at the Ostrich. Part 2 looked at the Chicken — and our old, childhood friend Chicken Little. Part 3 looked at the Vulture.
Part 4 will look at the Sparrow.
Sparrows are found wherever there are humans. They actually originate somewhere in the Middle East, but have spread out all across the world. Sparrows are unlike any other bird in their ability to adapt and assimilate in any environment. They make their nests in the corners and crevices of buildings.
The sparrow is a very social bird. They can be seen in flocks of hundreds splashing around in puddles or singing together in bushes. Sparrows are among the most vocal birds. They sing and chirp incessantly while alone and especially around other sparrows. This makes the sparrow especially vulnerable to attacks from predators, like cats, squirrels and humans.
Several friends questioned me on my choice of the sparrow for this series because there is nothing really special or remarkable about this bird. They cannot kick a hole in a skull like the Ostrich or burn a hole in a tree like the Vulture.
Truth be told, there’s nothing really special or remarkable about HR, either. It simply requires the committment and ability to consider and integrate the rights and affections of people into how an organizations does business. Anyone can do that … yet somehow organizations and the people responsible for them fail miserably at this every single day.
So HR makes its home in these organizations, chirping incessantly to get other decision-makers to listen, buy-in and act. HR fights and guards against becoming prey for other areas to take advantage of — like managers and employees who refuse to listen to HR’s advice and recommendations, but expect HR to bail them out at the first sign of trouble.
And, whenever possible, HR professionals gather together to bask in the company of each other. They share stories, vent, complain and provide support for each other. They network and create opportunities, strategies and more avenues to get the message out. And they sing, like only HR sparrows can!
Next week, the series will conclude with the Eagle.