Great HR Books Are Not Always HR Books

Laurie Ruettimann Coaching, HR, Laurie Ruettimann

I know you like Dave Ulrich and Daniel Pink, which is fine, but it’s no longer 2009. You can learn lessons about human resources from other sources, which is why I read Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking).

Have you read it?

Christian Rudder, the founder of OKCupid, wrote this accessible and interesting book about big data for people who don’t know anything about data.

That’s you and me. That’s most HR consultants, too.

You will learn a lot about human behavior, psychology and data from the quick and well-researched chapters.  There are a few areas where he discusses HR departments, and it’s funny to read what other people think about HR.

That’s my five-second pitch about the book. I want to tell you about the relationship test.

Let me explain the Relationship Test.

Scientists believe that the success of a personal relationship can be measured by how “linked” two people are to one another’s lives. If you and your spouse have a strong relationship, you will be a critical linchpin between two different communities. So the relationship test measures if you and your spouse share a large number of connections on Facebook, the most popular social networking site. It also evaluates your overlapping relationship maps.

I took the test.

I knew the results would be flawed because my husband is not on Facebook very often. We are not embedded in one another’s lives by design because this isn’t the 18th century. I do what I want. And it turns out that I have a strong relationship with my cat’s Facebook profile, which makes sense. I am invested and embedded in that relationship. That’s true.

But embeddedness is one way that forward-thinking HR professionals measure employee engagement.

Interesting to see how relationships are mapped across organizations. There’s HR technology software out there that will measure the flow of information in your company and help you understand who-does-what and who-talks-to-whom. You can look at “private” employee communication across your enterprise — on the phone, email, instant messaging, web traffic — and learn who is quiet, who shares information, and who might be looking for a job.

Someone may be deeply embedded in your company — and be the linchpin between communities or factions — and you might not even know it.

So if you get a chance, this holiday season, go ahead and read Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking). Think about how a dating site and its technology might offer insights into your workforce. And take the relationship test and see if you are as connected to your spouse as you think you are!

It’s an excellent book.