HR must leave ‘comfort zone’ of transactional work
This statement comes from Martin Riley, Atos HR services director, talking at the Transversal’s HR Service Conference. His company’s research shows that 34% of HR functions’ time is spent on transactional work because ‘that is their comfort zone’ and that HR professionals need to help themselves and be sure that they want to move to the strategic work. He does not address, however, how this might be achieved.
I have interviewed many HR directors over the past few months and recently one of the HR director was of the opinion that initially it is important to show the business that you can deliver on the transactional level, get this right and working well and people will begin to respect you.
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A lot of your success will hinge on building relationships and in my view starting that process on firm ground or in your ‘comfort zone’ is a good way to start. Your career path is a journey and there will be times when coming out of your comfort zone is not just desirable but essential.
Here is an extract from an article entitled “The Science of Your Comfort Zone and why it is so hard to leave”.
The benefits of coming out of your comfort zone are:
- You’ll be more productive. Comfort kills productivity because without the sense of unease that comes from having deadlines and expectations, we tend to phone it in and do the minimum required to get by. We lose the drive and ambition to do more and learn new things. We also fall into the work trap where we feign “busy” as a way to stay in our comfort zones and avoid doing new things.Pushing your personal boundaries can help you hit your stride sooner, get more done, and find smarter ways to work.
- You’ll have an easier time dealing with new and unexpected changes. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, explains that one of the worst things we can do is pretend fear and uncertainty don’t exist. By taking risks in a controlled fashion and challenging yourself to things you normally wouldn’t do, you can experience some of that uncertainty in a controlled, manageable environment. Learning to live outside your comfort zone when you choose to can prep you for life changes that force you out of it.
- You’ll find it easier to push your boundaries in the future. Once you start stepping out..of your comfort zone, it gets easier over time. As you step out of your comfort zone, you’ll become accustomed to that state of optimal anxiety. “Productive discomfort,” as they call it, becomes more normal to you, and you’re willing to push farther before your performance falls off. As you challenge yourself, your comfort zone adjusts so what was difficult and anxiety-inducing becomes easier as you repeat it.
- You’ll find it easier to brainstorm and harness your creativity. This is a soft benefit, but it’s fairly common knowledge (and it’s easily reproducible) that seeking new experiences, learning new skills, and opening the door to new ideas inspire us and educate us in a way that little else does. Trying new things can make us reflect on our old ideas and where they clash with our new knowledge, and inspire us to learn more and challenge confirmation bias, our tendency to only seek out information we already agree with. Even in the short term, a positively uncomfortable experience can help us brainstorm, see old problems in a new light, and tackle the challenges we face with new energy.
I invite you to see what happens when you step out of your comfort zone.