All content you read about HR on the internet comes from 1 of 5 POVs: practitioners, influencers, bloggers, content writers, and the hybrids. Understanding each point of view helps you comprehend what you are reading. Who are you to believe? One side says this, the other side says that! Let us break it down for you.
Practitioners – These are the folks that do it every day in a workplace environment. They go into the office and the ones who are actually pushing the HR functions that we all write about. They are also called “Trench HR” because they are actively in the trenches, resolving conflict, administering policy and keeping the company out of the courtroom.
Consultants – Consultants are usually former or ex-practitioners who have decided to leave the corporate ranks and pursue a career in HR by writing, speaking and lecturing. They remain current by reading, connecting and networking within the HR community just as practitioners should.
Bloggers – An HR blogger could be a practitioner, an ex-practitioner, a consultant, a former consultant or influencer; basically anyone can be a blogger. Bloggers set themselves apart by being extremely skilled, talented and knowledgeable, however the only way to do that is to have some sort of background or credibility in your field.
Influencers – This one is tricky. HR Influencers are those that have an impact on the HR profession but have never practiced human resources professionally. There are several authors and thought leaders who fit into this category. For instance, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook is very popular right now and her book “Lean In” is a best seller that is getting plenty of play in the HR circles. Sheryl is not in HR but currently she is influencing HR through her writing. Malcolm Galdwell the author of “The Tipping Point” and “Outliers” is another HR influencer; however he is not an HR practitioner, consultant or blogger.
Content Writers/Vendors – Content writers research topics, gather information and present it to the audience. Usually the content writer does not necessary have a background in that particular field, they simply report on it. Content writers rarely provide insight based on their own experiences, it’s just the fact based on the accounts of others or previously reported material.
Hybrid – Everyone loves a hybrid right? So a hybrid would be any combination of the above. For instance, I’m a former practitioner, who is now a consultant and a blogger. I use my experiences from my days in the trenches, along with the latest advances in HR to create great articles. There are other hybrid writers, who combine their past experiences, with their research and their influence to create content.
It’s important to note that when you read anything on the internet that you treat it just as you would a book from your favorite book store or library – you read about the author; you know the back flap of the book – the about me page. There is so much content available now a days which means you have to know who you are reading and why they have a platform. What are they bringing to the discussion and why you should even read their material? Each point of view has a different angle to consider.
HR is a very subjective profession, while there are compliance laws that govern our actions; company size, industry needs, technology, labor force, compensation, skill level, consumer share as well as the local and global economy all have an impact on way HR manages human capital. That’s a lot of information to consider and a lot of POVs.