Friend and fellow HR blogger Ben Eubanks posted the following point in a blog post entitled 4 Things Great HR Pros Know. He said “Obsolescence will eat your lunch.” That was his fourth point. The other ones are good too, but I will let you read those. I am going to talk about this one.
Ben said “If you don’t stay up to date on the solid things like legislative updates and the ‘fluffy’ things like corporate culture and social tools, you are going to be obsolete shortly.” I am a big advocate of environment scanning. In HR you need to pay attention to EVERYTHING as being potentially relevant to HR. As an example; tension between Israel and Iran, should you really care? What does that have to do with me in my small town? Anyone care to tender a guess? Price of gas perhaps? Higher gas prices put a pinch on employees, who need more money and subsequently ask for an increase. Or they ask to telecommute. Or they quit and try to work some place closer to their house. What do you say when you are unprepared to deal with such consequences.
Never heard of Daniel Pink? Not up on Motivation 2.0? What about ROWE? What do you do if the boss comes and wants an opinion on how ROWE might work for your company?
What are the implications for your company of the PPACA? Not familiar with that? Tsk, tsk. How are you going to deal with the implications of the NLRB’s actions on Section 7 rights and social media? Hmmm.. don’t think you have to be concerned because you don’t have any union employees? Think again Bunkie. You don’t Tweet? Well you had better get on board because the first buses have already left that station.
Let me ask you a question. Know anyone who has been unemployed for a long period of time? Ever wonder why? Oh sure, it is easy to say that they have been discriminated against, they are too old, too fat, too something else. But if we look closely generally it is because their skills and knowledge are outdated. As my friend Ben would say “obsolescence has eaten their lunch.”
I have been telling my classes that they have to be readers. Use Google Reader. It makes it nice and convenient. All your reading right in front of you. What should be on that list to keep you from becoming stale? Here are some suggestions:
- Wall Street Journal or BusinessWeek or some business journal
- BBC News, U.S. News & World Report or some international news
- Something on social trends
- Something on marketing
- Something on the future such as The Futurist
- Blogs on legal trends, compensation, compliance and employee relations
- Something about your industry
- Something about your personal interests.
- Something about technology
- Something about psychology
- Something about leadership
It is not hard to find these materials. Google and ye shall find. Put it all in one place and peruse it at least once a week. You will be amazed how much well informed you will be and how much smarter people will think you are. They will start to ask you “How do you know that?” And that will keep you from becoming obsolete.