I was heading into town the other morning, when I noticed a poster at my local tube station. It said "It is better to suffer injustice than to commit it", and it asked "are we helping to build a fair society?" It turned out to be part of a campaign from the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. Its other posters ask questions like...
- How do you put other people first?
- Are we helping children distinguish between right and wrong?
- When did you last say thank you?
A project I've been working on at the CIPD has been one to develop principles for better work and working lives. Those principles are about setting out fundamental beliefs that, in any situation, will help guide good decision making, regardless of context, even when there are no clear solutions or rules to guide us. Some of the key themes that have emerged along the way are integrity, professionalism and character. What a profession is. What a professional is. Why character is important. What we should strive towards. Why we should think long term. How we can consider the impact of workplace decisions on society.
So when I saw these posters, they really struck a chord with me, and I thought perhaps some of you might find them interesting too. Do you always put people first when you make decisions? Are policies always the best way to distinguish right from wrong? Can HR have a role in helping to build a fair society? Do you think character matters? What does ‘character’ even mean in the context of professionalism? And, how central is moral character to being a HR professional? How can we define what good character looks like in the context of the HR profession? And, how can we help HR professionals of the future develop character?
If you find this as interesting as me, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
(And, if you're interested in helping us to develop our principles for better work and working lives - just email me at email@example.com and I will let you know when opportunities to get involved pop up.)