So the top film in the UK and Ireland in 2014 (making £34.4M) was The Lego Movie – the story of Lord Business’s evil plan (spoiler alert – before his stony heart was warmed by Emmet “Ordinary” Joe Brickowski) to Krazy Glue the universe in place.
As I sit by my New Year fireside, attacking the last few kilos of Christmas cake and idly plotting brutal runs, cycle rides and gym regimes I will never actually undertake, I find it hard, as an ageing employment lawyer, to say where my sympathies lie. Perhaps it would be nice if just once – just this new year – everything could be Krazy Glued in place so that we don’t have to read all those e-mail alerts about the latest decisions on TUPE or holiday pay and go to all those “vital” seminars? We’ll certainly hear politicians promise, as election fever takes hold, to keep things simple and resist new regulations and red tape. Maybe things are best as they are and best if they stay as they are.
HR professionals (and some employment lawyers) are fundamentally warm-hearted and wonderful people who side instinctively with the free spirits, the creative people who want to live in harmony, the Master Builders who build lovely things in Lego. So why is there so much arm waving when things change? Is it really so cataclysmic to learn that what people get paid on holiday should be the same as they get paid the rest of time?
Is it a threat to civilization as we know it that if you’re capable of planning your redundancy exercises at a national level you should talk to people about them at that level too? And if we look at where we now stand, for instance, on parental leave and equal pay, isn’t there room for some change for the better?
My New Year’s resolution (which will probably last about as long as my fitness regime) is to try not to let my Lord Business side have it all its own way. Rather than bemoaning change and wishing I could stop it for ever I will try to embrace it and even value it. Because the interesting part of the jobs we all do is not reciting legislation or pointing to cases. The interesting part is making things happen; having an aim and finding a way of making it work with a bunch of wonderful, talented, demanding, temperamental and emotional people.
The stuff that keeps changing is just the background we work against. Anyone can look it up on the internet. The value we add (and this applies to HR professionals as much as employment lawyers) is our knowledge and experience of what works and what doesn’t work with people and how to balance risk against reward in any course of action. So next time you get an update – especially a brilliant one from DWF – don’t be a Lord Business and reach for the Krazy Glue. Relax! You’re a Master Builder at heart…