Long Live HR Experimentation!

Long Live HR Experimentation!

When invited to a newly revised onboarding session, that I entitled “Onboarding Experiment,” one of our new hires told me how she loved that I used the word experiment. My immediate reaction? Crap. She’s onto me. I find myself using that word quite a lot in reference to initiatives I’m working on. There’s just something about calling a new effort an experiment that makes it sound more exciting while also easing the stress for those of us who are phobic about commitment. It’s not just that though.

Describing something as an experiment makes everyone think about it differently.

I’m a big fan of this approach overall for a variety of reasons and I suggest you check out the thoughts below if you’d like to experience the benefits as well.

Embrace the Adventure

Trying new things is fun. Sometimes a scary kind of fun, but fun nonetheless. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to create as much fun as possible for myself in work. We’re there way too often to not enjoy it. So, dive in and enjoy the ride. Testing out new waters is also a great way to build courage and most of us could use a little boost in that area now and again.

Feedback Is Your Friend

When you initiate something new internally and put it out there as an experiment, people become more curious. That curiosity can impact participation. You’ll certainly get more feedback than perhaps you’d receive if employees thought they were locked in for years to something that’s newly launching. Instead of wondering why they should bother sharing their thoughts or concerns if change is a long way down the road, they’ll jump at the chance to be part of something new and moldable.

Testing Is Contagious

Innovation and HR aren’t always synonymous. Set the precedent in your organization that trial and error is ok. It’s how you learn and grow. And if those on the HR team lead that way, it will inspire other departments to embrace that mentality as well. Who know what earth shattering idea can come from this approach permeating your organization? It will feel pretty awesome to know that some of that mindset originated with you.

Failing Makes Us Better

It might not feel good in the moment, but we learn from every failure. Really shooting for a goal and missing the mark hurts but it’s how we pick ourselves up from those challenges that show true leadership. Having the grit and persistence to get back up when we fall makes us proud and less afraid to do it next time. Practice what you preach. How can you expect to lead others to challenge themselves and implement change if you’re not willing to do it yourself?

Doing the same thing over and over again. That’s what they call the definition of insanity. We may not wear lab coats or work towards curing disease daily but we can certainly flex our research and development muscles in HR. Reminding not only ourselves but also the rest of the organization and the world of what we’re capable of. I hope they’re ready for us!

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Kelly Poulson

Kelly has spent her career helping people kick ass and become better versions of themselves. Coaching, training, recruiting – you name it, she’s done it, and in a variety of industries ranging from advertising to behavioral health to tourism and beyond. Be it supporting new managers in their journeys from uncertain supervisors to rock star bosses, helping lost newbies zero in on what they want from their careers and find their inner confidence to ask for (and receive) that promotion, or enabling leaders to be more self-aware in their management styles and more skillfully interact with those around them, she’s done it all. Outside of pushing to make people and organizations better, Kelly spends most of her time marathoning Netflix programming with her mutt, Dexter. www.kellypoulson.com Connect with Kelly.


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