Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Human Resource Lessons Learned from Star Wars

This was a rather amusing post on talent management and Star Wars. You will also be able to gather from my previous posts on employee engagement and my readings of Regina's blog that in addition to the below problems (lack of good communication and what not), that the Jedi unsuccessfully communicated brand. The fact that Anakin could make such an extreme jump in employers shows that the Jedi ineffectively communicated the brand. Many of us who are "engaged" employees would never dream of jumping ship to go to a competitor!!! Obviously the Jedi did a poor job helping Anakin understand the differences in their core values and missions.

I'm pasting a couple of excerpts below:

/24-7PressRelease/ - New York NY, June 22, 2005 - Through George Lucas' storytelling, filmgoers have come to know Darth Vader as the epitome of evil. But as viewers learn from the latest Star Wars trilogy, underneath that intimidating exterior beats the heart of a man whose turn to the dark side was largely a result of his frustration with his former employer.

What if the Jedi had an effective human resource program? Perhaps we would have seen Anakin chatting with Yoda over intergalactic eggnog at the Jedi holiday party, rather than Darth Vader bowing to the evil emperor in Revenge of the Sith.

So where did the Jedi's HR program go wrong? At first glance, there doesn't appear to be a problem. After all, the Jedi offer an excellent training program for new employees, surely making them one of the galaxy's employers of choice. Where else can you learn how to wield your very own lightsaber and do Jedi Mind Tricks? They don't offer that type of training even at Microsoft.

"A Career Progression program could have helped in this situation," explained Michael Maciekowich, National Director, Astron Solutions. "Building career paths lets employees know that they are moving forward within an organization, giving them a sense of direction. Anakin would have realized that the Jedi cared about his career growth, and that the promotion to Jedi Master was an attainable goal, had there been a clear career progression program in place."

One major reason why Anakin eventually turns to the Dark Side is because he believes that they offer better "benefits" (and we don't mean a good dental plan). The confused, young Jedi is concerned that he is going to lose someone close to him due to medical reasons, and believes that his new position will offer him the "ultimate" in healthcare insurance. As he quickly learns, however, his new employer wasn't exactly truthful about the health coverage. Perhaps the Jedi weren't clearly communicating their own benefit plan to Anakin.

Increased communication and attention to employee feedback could have helped in this situation as well.