Kanye West: the world’s best HR adviser?


Does one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed musicians have a hidden talent for human resources management? No, but HRM investigates anyway.

Good advice doesn’t necessarily come from the sources you might expect. After an absence of 10 months, rapper Kanye West returned to Twitter with some stream-of-consciousness aphorisms that could have interesting application for those working in HR. For instance:

“As a creative your ideas are your strongest form of currency.”

HR isn’t often identified as a hub of innovation but the question is: why not? HRM recently wrote about how HR can measure innovation, and become innovative itself.

From recruiting to exit interviews, and everything in between, there are multiple opportunities to stand out by adopting creative HR practices. Take two companies unique approach to hiring and firing.

Amazon and online retailer Zappos both have a Pay to Quit policy. In order to weed out the really committed employees from the also-rans, Amazon offers employees $2000 in their first year to quit the business. This increases each year after that with a maximum of $5000. At Zappos, the company offers to pay new employees for all the time they spend training, plus one month’s salary and all they have to do in return is quit. They say it saves them megabucks in time wasted on the wrong hire.

Back to our hip-hop sage who also proclaims:

“Distraction is the enemy of vision.”

Here Kanye is right on the money when it comes to one of the central issues for HR right now. The transactional side of HR that has for years occupied the profession – such as benefits admin etc – is becoming a distraction. It’s the part of HR already receiving a heavy dose of automation, and predictions are it will one day be fully automated.

HR can and should be positioning themselves as the ‘people strategy visionary’ of an organisation. Just saying “people are our most valuable asset” isn’t good enough. HR must help shape the vision for what employees can achieve individually and together for the success of the business, and then empower individuals to get there.

When Kanye posted this tweet, it showed how much (unintentional) insight he has into changing management styles over the past decade.

“Make decisions based on love not fear.”

Adopting a stoic, strong, remote persona in the workplace isn’t going to win you any fans. If leaders disregard the importance of connecting with employees, they lose the benefit of a dedicated, long-term team.

While it may not be their obligation, for a lot of organisations people’s personal issues are now being tackled head on. In other companies, organisational resilience is beginning with building resilience in all employees.

If an employee is struggling with money problems, domestic violence or depression, decisions about their working life need to come from a place of caring and compassion. Doing that will create a loyalty that is hard to break.

When it comes to feedback, too, honesty is imperative. An employee will appreciate truthful and transparent feedback if it comes from a desire to help them improve, rather than couched in critical terms.

As Vartika Kashyap, HRM contributor and manager at Proof Hub, put it, “as a leader, you must do your best to eliminate this feeling of feedback being a dreaded commodity. Feedback should be something that employees become willing to accept, and ask for on their own.”

Motivation to be in HR

We’ll leave the last words to the self-help/philosophy book West is tweeting, as we’re pretty sure it’s directed mostly at people working in HR:

Kanye tweet

Amen to that.

Photo credit: NRK P3  / CC BY-NC-SA

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Rebecca Peters
Rebecca Peters
3 years ago

Are you serious? Quoting ‘advice’ from a violent man whose partners have consistently accused of physical abuse. I expect higher standards from AHRI than this.

Tracey
Tracey
3 years ago

Another example of an AHRI article that takes a random piece of news or common sense and proclaims it to be HR related and groundbreaking. We don’t need new articles everyday – please return to quality over quantity.

Kirralee
Kirralee
3 years ago

Gee scraping the bottom of the inspiration barrels this morning…

Kev
Kev
3 years ago

Loved the article. Calm down ladies…the article is light hearted and informative. It never claims to be ground breaking either……smile, it’s a Friday.

Teee
Teee
3 years ago

Thank you for this humourous piece Amanda.

1 2 3
More on HRM

Kanye West: the world’s best HR adviser?


Does one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed musicians have a hidden talent for human resources management? No, but HRM investigates anyway.

Good advice doesn’t necessarily come from the sources you might expect. After an absence of 10 months, rapper Kanye West returned to Twitter with some stream-of-consciousness aphorisms that could have interesting application for those working in HR. For instance:

“As a creative your ideas are your strongest form of currency.”

HR isn’t often identified as a hub of innovation but the question is: why not? HRM recently wrote about how HR can measure innovation, and become innovative itself.

From recruiting to exit interviews, and everything in between, there are multiple opportunities to stand out by adopting creative HR practices. Take two companies unique approach to hiring and firing.

Amazon and online retailer Zappos both have a Pay to Quit policy. In order to weed out the really committed employees from the also-rans, Amazon offers employees $2000 in their first year to quit the business. This increases each year after that with a maximum of $5000. At Zappos, the company offers to pay new employees for all the time they spend training, plus one month’s salary and all they have to do in return is quit. They say it saves them megabucks in time wasted on the wrong hire.

Back to our hip-hop sage who also proclaims:

“Distraction is the enemy of vision.”

Here Kanye is right on the money when it comes to one of the central issues for HR right now. The transactional side of HR that has for years occupied the profession – such as benefits admin etc – is becoming a distraction. It’s the part of HR already receiving a heavy dose of automation, and predictions are it will one day be fully automated.

HR can and should be positioning themselves as the ‘people strategy visionary’ of an organisation. Just saying “people are our most valuable asset” isn’t good enough. HR must help shape the vision for what employees can achieve individually and together for the success of the business, and then empower individuals to get there.

When Kanye posted this tweet, it showed how much (unintentional) insight he has into changing management styles over the past decade.

“Make decisions based on love not fear.”

Adopting a stoic, strong, remote persona in the workplace isn’t going to win you any fans. If leaders disregard the importance of connecting with employees, they lose the benefit of a dedicated, long-term team.

While it may not be their obligation, for a lot of organisations people’s personal issues are now being tackled head on. In other companies, organisational resilience is beginning with building resilience in all employees.

If an employee is struggling with money problems, domestic violence or depression, decisions about their working life need to come from a place of caring and compassion. Doing that will create a loyalty that is hard to break.

When it comes to feedback, too, honesty is imperative. An employee will appreciate truthful and transparent feedback if it comes from a desire to help them improve, rather than couched in critical terms.

As Vartika Kashyap, HRM contributor and manager at Proof Hub, put it, “as a leader, you must do your best to eliminate this feeling of feedback being a dreaded commodity. Feedback should be something that employees become willing to accept, and ask for on their own.”

Motivation to be in HR

We’ll leave the last words to the self-help/philosophy book West is tweeting, as we’re pretty sure it’s directed mostly at people working in HR:

Kanye tweet

Amen to that.

Photo credit: NRK P3  / CC BY-NC-SA

guest
12 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rebecca Peters
Rebecca Peters
3 years ago

Are you serious? Quoting ‘advice’ from a violent man whose partners have consistently accused of physical abuse. I expect higher standards from AHRI than this.

Tracey
Tracey
3 years ago

Another example of an AHRI article that takes a random piece of news or common sense and proclaims it to be HR related and groundbreaking. We don’t need new articles everyday – please return to quality over quantity.

Kirralee
Kirralee
3 years ago

Gee scraping the bottom of the inspiration barrels this morning…

Kev
Kev
3 years ago

Loved the article. Calm down ladies…the article is light hearted and informative. It never claims to be ground breaking either……smile, it’s a Friday.

Teee
Teee
3 years ago

Thank you for this humourous piece Amanda.

1 2 3
More on HRM