Is HR an art or science?



A reader recently emailed to ask me if I thought HR was more of an art or a science. My quick answer was “both.” Projects, programs, and strategies all (should be) based on solid numbers and facts. Otherwise, why do them at all? However, the more day-to-day interactions that most of us are familiar with seems to be more of an art. When you’re flying by the seat of your pants and making quick decisions based on your gut instincts, there’s not much science involved.

This is a large snippet of a post called HR is an art, but you should act like a scientist from Renegade HR. I read it a while back, but I came across it a few days ago and thought it was appropriate.


Using the scientific method



If you\’re rolling out a new program, how are you going to prove that paying you to develop it over the last six months was worth the companies time? How are you going to show that it actually works?

You\’re going to track the outcome you\’re looking for before you implement a program, and then track it again after you implement the program. If the outcome improves or changes, your program is probably a sucess. If it doesn\’t, your program failed. You can tweak it and try again.

Guess what – that\’s the scientific method! That\’s science. When dealing with people, there are always a tremendous amount of variables that can influence behaviors and results. But does that mean you shouldn\’t think like a scientist?

What do you think? Art, science, or a little bit of both?

If you’d like to see more work by Renegade HR, I recommend Use Your Employees as Guinea Pigs.

Photos by Ben Heine and Milosz1. Post by Renegade HR shared via Creative Commons license.