The HR Juggler

Day 7: Hopes and Fears

Posted on: December 7, 2011

Today’s high energy guest post comes from the very cool Peter Cook, author of Punk Rock People Management and enlivener of pretty much any Twitter stream he is part of…you can find him at @Academyofrock and over on his blog.


In conducting my review of 2011, I’m resorting to the titles of some rock and pop songs for inspiration …

Britain’s got HR Talent

One of the highlights of 2011 for me was meeting Evan Davis of Dragons Den and Radio 4’s Today Programme.  During our conversation we touched on the vexed question of talent management.  I was buoyed up by Evan’s finding that the UK plc has tons of talent from his survey of the country for the BBC ‘Made In Britain’ series.   On a more worrying note, he pointed out that we need to steer the economy away from ‘tanning rooms and coffee houses’ which largely consume cash, towards a more enterprising culture which generates export wealth.  Davis said that this transition is not easy to do quickly.   HR strategists will have their work cut out in 2012.

There is power in a union?

The year has been marked by a resurgence of industrial relations unrest.  However, it seems that the recent public sector strikes was marked not by braziers, banners and protest songs, but by the best shopping day in 2011, as retail sales soared.  I saw people leaving the picket lines to go to Costa Coffee at 10 am at my local council offices.  Is shopping for Ugg Boots and flat screen TV’s the hallmark of the new rebellion?

Can we look forward to more industrial unrest?   Having spoke with Vince Cable the other day, I’m not sure that support for a return to the pluralist industrial relations era is universal amongst public sector workers.  One thing is for sure, we can expect more performances by proto punk protest singer Billy Bragg:


What’s new pussycat?

Both Evan Davis and Vince Cable were agreed on the fact that the UK plc needs to encourage innovation and enterprise in 2012 and beyond.   HR will play a pivotal role in encouraging people to bring greater levels of focused creativity to the workplace.  They will also need to develop leaders who value curiosity, enterprise, tolerance of new approaches more than command and control, to seize the initiative in generating new engines of growth.  Doing more of the same will not do, we need to do things differently.  Musically, it’s more a case of ‘What’s new pussycat’ rather than ‘Do the standing still’.


Because Peter is officially a very nice man he is offering electronic copies of his latest book “Punk Rock People Management” FREE to readers of this blog.  Please contact him direct by e-mail at – just mention my name (Alison Chisnell) or Punk HR in the mail and that’s it.  Print copies and Amazon Kindle versions also available at Punk Rock HR or via the Rock’n’Roll Business Blog.

So, all in all….what’s not to like???!

4 Responses to "Day 7: Hopes and Fears"

Nice one Pete- What’s needed for HR to reinvent itself from its ‘Hardly Relevant’ or ‘Human Remains’ image??

I think HR works when it is in the business, speaking the language of business and this is the realm of many practising HR people. It loses focus when it stays away from the business, disappears into its own language game and so on. The antidotes are the ones that the CIPD has agonised over for many years:

Learn business and finance to have a voice in business

Work in the business rather than being detached from it – Get out more

and so on…

However this is easy to write, but harder to do. I do know many HR people that are doing just such things.

Billy Bragg – friend of HR folks everywhere! Nice one. Joe Strummer taught us ‘Without people you’re nothing’. Keep the punk fires burning Peter.

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