Sunday, 4 July 2010

1,000 Places To Visit Before You Die. Number 1,001: HR Shire

With the holiday season almost upon us, HR Shire is likely to feature on the travel plans of many seasoned adventurers and explorers.

The editors and staff of HR Case Studies have therefore produced this handy guide for those who have grown weary of sun, sea, sand and streptococcal infections.

HR Shire is a small independent nation within the United Kingdom, consisting of a population of around 50,000 all of whom are members of the HR Profession.

HR Shire is mentioned in the Domesday Book and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, where it was known as Personnel Shire. The customs, practices and laws of HR Shire are actually indistinguishable from those of Personnel Shire.

The weather (and the natives) are constantly miserable.

All citizens of HR Shire speak Jargon, and also a local dialect called Cobblers. For visitors to HR Shire, here are a few useful translations into everyday English of common HR Shire terms:

HR Business Partner
Personnel Manager

Long-term organisational capability framework
Training Plan

War for Talent
Slight difficulty in recruiting half-decent employees from the pool of 2.5 million unemployed

Learning organization
No known translation

Most inhabitants of HR Shire are members of the Church of Indecisive and Paranoid Debaters (CIPD) The CIPD describes itself as a “Broad Church” which basically means that it welcomes members with any form of belief. Or none. Or possibly both at the same time. The only commitment demanded of members is that they regularly question why they exist. Or in fact if they exist. (Reminder: subscriptions due in July)

National Days
There are several celebrations of the HR Shire’s ability to attract new residents. These are known as the National Recruitment Awards, where natives who live on the very fringe of HR Shire gather, praise each other, get embarrassingly drunk and are pictured the following week in one of HR Shire's glossy publications.

Large numbers of HR Shire inhabitants also gather together once per year at a large religious service organised by the CIPD. The main purpose of this meeting is to listen to ministers of the CIPD from across the world, and learn new terms of Jargon and Cobblers to use back in the workplace.

Patron Saints
There are two saints that are revered by the inhabitants of HR Shire. The most important is Saint Ulrich of Michigan whose writings are almost treated as scripture. His coat of arms consists of a box divided into four sectors, although some of his disciples who have formed a breakaway sect believe that the box should only be divided into three.

Of slightly lesser importance is Saint Gawain de Brockbank who was himself a follower of Saint Ulrich.

Like many figures from ancient history, there is no certainty that either Saint Ulrich of Michigan or Saint Gawain de Brockbank actually existed. Scholars have pointed out that there is no record of either of them ever having been in full-time employment as an artisan, so they may in fact be mythological figures devised to give weight and support to some of the unusual beliefs followed by the inhabitants of HR Shire.

In HR Shire it is not generally necessary to tip, unless of course you want something done.

Getting Around
A booklet written in both Jargon and Cobblers entitled “Seeing HR Shire by Bike” is available in all good bookshops as well as the casualty ward off all Public Hospitals (closed Wednesday to Sunday and on Bank Holidays)

Internet access has been slow coming to HR Shire, and at a top rate of just 17bps, many visitors find that post cards arrive faster than their e-mails

Events Calendar 2010
July 4th: Launch of UK HR Blogfest
July 11th: National Day of Mourning (coincides with Final of FIFA World Cup)
August: During the month men take over cooking duties (BBQ only) and celebrate the late arrival of summer with music, (Abba) dancing (badly) and each others’ wives
November 5th: Bonfire night. Said to be the origin of the phrase to describe many HR initiatives: Up like a rocket, down like a stick


  1. Your events calendar misses out the annual 3-day navel-gazing ceremony, held this year from 9-11 November.

  2. Rick: Thanks for the comment! It will be interesting to see who is speaking at the Navel-Gazing Ceremony this year. Plenty of failures from the sporting world to show how not to lead and motivate a team .......