Thoughts about hr and management in the real world – extra information I couldn't fit in my books!.

Are you practising the art of dark HR?

You may have heard about voodoo. Witch craft. Black magic. All known as the dark arts.

But the other day I read a article about dark social. I thought what is this dark social? I was imagining voodo. Black magic. Witchcraft.

It turns out that dark social is when you find an article on social media and you copy and paste the link into an email and send it to somebody. The reason this is dark is because it isn’t captured. When you click on the link in Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter, the Internet tracks what you do and whoever wrote the article can see that you’ve read it and that you’ve clicked on it.

But when you copy and paste the web link, and email it, nobody knows how many people you send it to and how many people have read it from you sending them the link.

I have to admit once I knew what dark social was, it doesn’t seem particularly exciting. Especially if you’re not that concerned about tracking who has read your article and where from. However my mind turned to HR and I thought if there is a concept of dark social, is there also a concept of dark HR?

This is where instead of coming in asking the HR team about policy, a manager asks another manager. A team member asks another team member. And that manager or team member answers. They may even send a link to the policy. But it hasn’t gone through HR. HR doesn’t know what questions are being asked or what information has been given. Therefore it is dark HR.

The concern with this of course is that the information provided isn’t correct. That the manager thinks they know the holidays act and advises of the people on it, but actually isn’t correct. That a team member knows the policy around salary reviews, and tells everyone else!

If there is a lot of dark HR happening, maybe it’s because your HR team isn’t structured correctly to be providing help quickly enough or that’s useful for managers. Or that the intranet is so hard to find information on that it’s easier to ask others.

One way around this is transparency. At the HR Game Changer Conference a couple of years ago, Kellie Egan from Atlassian spoke.

She explained that they use confluence, an online Facebook-like tool, where employees can ask about HR policies. And the thing is anybody can answer them. Other managers or other employees. Anyone. What the HR team do is just keep an eye on the answers to check that there isn’t anything incorrect or if people haven’t answered and there is useful information that the HR team can add. So HR isn’t owned by HR, but HR to check that there isn’t misinformation happening.

The risk is if you have got a lot of dark HR happening in your company there may be misinformation out there. So you need to think about how you can bring it into the light.

I would be really interested to hear if anyone else has examples of where they found that dark HR is happening, and how they solved this.

As for dark social, if you want to have a go at that all you need to do is copy the link to this blog and email it to someone!! That’s a little bit of black magic that you’ve just performed on the Internet!


Angela Atkins is the best selling author of the Bites books (Management Bites, Employment Bites, Training Bites and the newly released Safety Bites), Director of Management Bites International and organises conferences and PD for Elephant Group and the Association of People Professionals.

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This entry was posted on February 19, 2017 by in human resources and tagged , .
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