Why the Golden Handshake Won’t Work In HR Anymore

Why the Golden Handshake Won’t Work In HR Anymore

This past week I went to play golf with a friend of mine in Austin, Texas.  As we were each doing our best to play a decent game, we started talking about his story on how he made it to America.  You see, Jason is originally from St. Lucia.  He was telling me about how on the island, your handshake was as good as gold.  If you said you were going to be somewhere, you were there.  If you said you were going to do something, you were going to do it.  There really wasn’t any choice in the matter.   He talked about how amazed he was when he came to America and how drastically different things are on the Island than in the United States.

I took a minute and I thought about it for a while.  Our world has changed.  Yes, Jason was right.  There once was a day where your handshake was golden.  It is sad.  Call me old fashioned, but I really wish things could be that way again.  You see, they just can’t be that way anymore.  I really wish our world was filled with integrity filled individuals who tell the truth all of the time.

I laugh every time I hear that people get into HR because they “like people”.  You see, HR is full of the good and bad.  They are part of the recruitment process.  They get to tell people when people get jobs.  They have to discipline people when they aren’t performing and they have to fire people.  They have to lay off people when organizations aren’t doing well.  They have to control costs.  They have to work with unemployment claims.   They have to be a part of employee relations issues.   They have to be a part of the benefit process.

Yes, HR is in the people business.  No, it is not all glorious.  Our world is changing every minute.  Every minute of every day technology is evolving.  Aside from the human factor, technology is changing our world.  In the past 20 years the internet has changed everything.  Today we are able to research most everything on the internet and people can track your every move by just having a mobile device in your pocket.   Satellites can pinpoint where you are and what you are doing at any given moment.  Social Media has allowed us to communicate with people all across the globe in seconds.  Skype and Google Hangouts have allowed us to have phone conversations anywhere .

The truth is, this is only the beginning.  I can’t foretell the future, but I know things are only going to get less and less private.  Google Glass is going to allow us to record every minute of our lives by simply looking at someone through their glasses.  I’m officially terrified.  What does this mean?  Forget about Digital Music or Napster.  Our world as we know it is about to change- forever.

HR stays on top of all of the latest technology trends.  We are all over social media. We use the internet daily.  We have bought into technology hook, line and sinker.  What does this mean for the future?  We will continue to embrace technology.

We can’t go off a handshake anymore.  There will be too many tools available for us to use to find out about people.  We will know more and more about one another than we have ever known.  We will start losing trust in one another.   Our words may not feel “golden” because we know way too much about one another.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  My thought, Island time is officially over.  HR and the golden handshake are gone.  Forever.

Would you bring back the golden handshake if you could? 

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Will Thomson

Will Thomson lives in Austin, Texas, and works for Rosetta Stone as the global sales and marketing recruiter. He has been in recruitment and sales for 20 years. He has recruited some of the most sought-after talent around the globe, and is a regular blogger for the recruitment industry. Connect with Will.


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