4 Reasons to Start an HR Lab

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I was at a conference recently where a speaker used the term “HR Lab”. I thought it was pretty cool. My vision of a lab is a place where you test out new things. Or you take existing things and tweak them a little. Human resources could definitely use a Lab.

When I think back on my HR career, I know there have been times when I would have loved to spend more time thinking through a policy or procedure. And lots of times when I wanted to test out a new idea on a small group before implementing it company-wide. What a perfect time for an HR Lab!

Now of course, when we’re talking about creating an HR Lab it goes without saying – but I’m going to say it anyway – that this isn’t a place to try out things that are unethical, immoral, or illegal. Here are four situations where I could see this kind of lab being helpful:

An HR Lab could be used as a focus group for new ideas. I’m thinking about all those times when senior management has said to me, “What do you think about this…?” or “I wonder what employees would think if we did this…”. Instead of having a focus group, why not bring employees together in an HR Lab conversation. Using an HR Lab brand could set the level of expectation that the group can talk about anything, but that doesn’t mean discussed ideas will be implemented.

Human resources could test out a policy change in the HR Lab. How many times have you wondered, “Do we need to create a policy about this?” or “This procedure is five years old, should we update it?” While policy and procedure changes never make everyone happy, is it possible to test out potential changes in

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