EngagementCultureWhy is there so much fluff in HR?

Why is there so much fluff in HR?

We've all seen it - HR thought leadership and initiatives that don't seem to be any more than 'fluff'. Why is there so much 'fluff' in HR, and what can People Leaders do about it?

Human Resources has held different names, promoted different workplace practices, been blamed for multiple workplace transgressions all through the ideas of others. There is always something an HR professional can write about when we want to express our feelings and thoughts about the profession and what is happening. Even people who aren’t in HR have think pieces on the choices made every day in the HR offices of organizations across the world. But are the words being written to have the purpose of making an impact and help? Or to make the next influencer list?

Blogging can be done by pretty much anyone who has access to the internet and an idea. It was the popular thing to do before podcast became such a big hit. The only problem? So many blogs and not enough information in them.

This doesn’t only pertain to HR blogs, so many people are trying to become “Influencers” they are putting out small amounts of information to catch the attention of people, like a news article title, but not discussing it too much further. Writing a few paragraphs, enough to keep people coming back and calling it the #best. Blog writers trying to be seen to be invited out or be put on a list, but not enough to address, in depth, how they really feel about something going on in the profession.

Having “fluff” to fill the spots in an article doesn’t always make for a good blog.

HR isn’t fluff and our articles about it shouldn’t be either. As bloggers, we have the ability to make people see situations in a different way. It can help people, and organizations, understand the dangers and unprofessional workplace cultures they are experiencing. Blogs have the ability to help people find the words to describe the misconduct or understand that they need to look at their own performance. Blogs allow us the ability to find ourselves as leaders, bosses, coworkers, and employees. Yes, blogs are usually based on the ideas and opinions of people, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

Over the past few years, much of my understanding of this profession has come from following HR bloggers. The people who I can call, email, or even tweet on when I have a question are some of the same people I’ve subscribed to and take time out of the day to read when they post a new piece. Those post are read because I know they have knowledge in the area or will explain their thoughts on the process in more detail.

But this doesn’t happen with everyone who want to blog.

It’s not to say that all fluff for an article is bad. Some people think of the fluff as being a story, the memes/gifs I use on HRJazzy, or funny thoughts that might be in the middle of the article. In my opinion, fluff is the blog writing on diversity and inclusion that has a quick overview of what everyone is saying and not another thought or solution to the problem. Taking a buzzword topic and putting a few words together to be recognized on the topic. We, as a profession, give a lot of credit to people who are constantly writing the same article or giving the same presentation over the past few years.

HR takes on a lot of criticisms and even though a few of us hate to admit it, those criticisms can very well be valid. We have HR professionals thinking the #MeToo movement isn’t important or that diversity in the workplace isn’t a problem that needs addressing. People still talking about the “issues” of having a millennial boss or that some of the recruiters are out fighting a war on talent.

We can’t fight every topic through the words the write but when we do use our words in blogging, we need to make sure we’re providing people with access to information that can be helpful and insightful. Organizations are changing based on words they’ve read in books, on LinkedIn, and yes, even from a blogger. Those are they type of articles we need more of in the profession.

 

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What can you do to get rid of the fluff?

  1. Write about situations you’ve been through and provide solutions: As a blogger who usually targets students/new HR professionals, I try to provide different ways for them to see how a topic could possible affect them in their career.
  2. Research what you want to talk about: It is really this simple. You’re writing on the topic because you want to be more knowledgeable on it and you want to help others who might be having an issue with it as well. The best way to find out more is to research and provide your thoughts on the findings.
  3. Don’t run from the topic: If you’re going to write about diversity, inclusion, politics, microaggressions, culture, a bad day at work, a good day at work, handling an issue with a coworker, or anything else, go into the topic. Change names don’t provide information that may be damaging to others, but don’t skate around the topic, tackle it head on.

Human Resources has too many issues that need to be addressed in full force. It needs to give people something to have a conversation about. Not just to get a click on your article to fluff for the numbers.

Human Resources has several great blog writers and every single post doesn’t need to be heavy, but it does need to be presented in a way that can provide your reader with a possible solution or the ability to think about a topic in a different light. In order for HR bloggers should feel as though we hold great deal of responsibility to the profession and the countless number of people who are hoping our writing can help them find solutions, not provide fluff to make ourselves look good on a list.

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