Why Be Normal?

 In the world of HR, most practitioners strive their entire career to keep things “normal.”  They actually get consumed with making sure that people stay in line, follow policies and conform to the norms of the company. 

Why is that? 

Is the middle of the road the best place for employees to be or the safest way for HR people to “deal” with them?

When you look at statistics today, you see that people are dissatisfied with their current work situation at an alarming 85% to 95%.  There are many factors that may be causing this feeling of sullenness: the economy, winter doldrums, managers who won’t dare to be creative and the list goes on and on. 

Time for this to change. Let’s start with a new mantra, “Conformity is OVERRATED!”

That sentence alone may have many of you not daring to read further, but please do.  When we were kids, we loved everything about everything. Clouds were cool and painting with our fingers was amazing! Being around others was great because we played, laughed, created new worlds and wondered why the big people around us didn’t enjoy things as much as we did.

So, like all good adults, we spend countless hours draining the creative spirit from kids and tell them to “be quiet,” “don’t run,” “color inside the lines,” etc. Our training to the norm is meant to breed them to be successful and now they’ve become the employees who are dissatisfied with their work. Encouraging, huh?

HR has the ability to become the “Ren & Stimpy” of the business world. 

I’m a giant Ren & Stimpy fan. When this cartoon came out on Nickolodeon, it revolutionized the way animation was done. The stories were odd and bizarre yet engrossing. I never missed an episode, and when my daughter was born 17 years ago, I received Ren & Stimpy stuffed animals so I had something to play with along with my daughter. My family thought that I needed them. How cool is that? 

Here’s the challenge before us HR. We can march to the tune of the environment around us, or we can create something exciting and vibrant for people to want to come to work every day. Which one makes sense to you? 

I’m going right now to get Ren & Stimpy and take them to my office.

Image Courtesy of www.fancast.com

About the Author

Steve Browne

Steve Browne is the ultimate connector and social media guidance counselor and also works in the trenches of Human Resources. Steve is the Executive Director of HR for LaRosa’s. He has responsibilities for the strategic direction of over 1400 employees. In his spare time, he is active in Ohio SHRM and runs a subscriber-based newsletter called HR Net. Connect with Steve on Twitter as @sbrownehr and on LinkedIn.



I couldn’t agree more… I’ve always stood out, but do a great job and have fun. In a former life as a recruiter I had a co-worker give me a sign that read “I’m not weird, I’m gifted” I still have that up in my office today.


Love this blog post! Spot on is all I can say, thank you for having the courage to say it!


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