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What should the H in HR stand for?

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Part of our series; Good mental Health at Work

HR Magazine articleI recently had this article published in HR Magazine. Every night when my head hits my pillow I have a wonderful dream. My dream is that we all use more humour to help further humanise human resources.

In my new book Humourology – The Serious Business of Humour at Work I posit that humour has a way of shining a light through the darkest of times. Psychologists agree that laughter can build resilience and help communities power through struggle. In tough times, it is important to remember the power of laughter and work together to come through difficulty with hope to move onward.

Humour has a powerful role in empathy. It’s the realisation that you’re not alone in your crazy thoughts and actions that makes you laugh. We regard ordinary experiences as unworthy of a joke until we share them with each other. The scientists who study laughter would describe this as affiliative humour, intended to bring people together by laughing at their common afflictions. Even in the darkest of times, there’s something that seems ironic, strange, out of place or just plain silly. The leader who skilfully uses humour to unite a team isn’t afraid to draw attention to something that, in any other context would bring a smile to your face.

The power of humour is in uniting us against a world that continues to throw surprises at us. Laughter is our last line of defence. When you see someone suffering, you have a choice. You can point and laugh, and you can join them; try to help them and make a disarming comment that leaves you both smiling at the fact that the world is out to get you, and at least you’re not alone. When catastrophe come knocking, remember comedy can create the connections we all need to see it through.

My ultimate dream is that every company in the world will have a department called Humour Resources.

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PS. Did you hear about the pirate that was prevented by his boss from from working in Personnel? He now works in H Arrrrrrh!


Paul the Humourologist

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