Advice

Could HR solve...? Star Wars

23 Jan 2020 By PM Editorial

With better HR practices, would the Empire still be battling today?

The problem

Finn’s first day as a soldier in the First Order gets off to a bad start when the disillusioned stormtrooper removes his helmet, despite being strictly against the First Order code of conduct. This infringement of the rules doesn’t go unnoticed by his terrifying line manager, Captain Phasma, who immediately sends him for reconditioning. But could this violation of health and safety policy have been dealt with more effectively?

The solution

As with most things in HR, a balanced view is needed, says Mark Hendy, HR manager at Forged Solutions Group. 

First, PPE (personal protective equipment) is vital and its use should be fully respected. “With sparks flying and dangerous heavy machinery around, it’s understandable that rules are in place to prevent injuries,” Hendy says. “Finn should honour these rules, as he would be no good to anyone with a nasty bump because he wasn’t wearing a helmet.”

However, Captain Phasma could have handled the situation better, says Hendy. While she identified the issue, she failed to facilitate a respectful discussion about Finn’s actions, he explains. 

“Understanding the motivation behind someone’s actions can go a long way, and Finn would then understand what he did wrong,” says Hendy. “Instead of using punishment without discussion, Captain Phasma should help Finn learn for himself that removing his helmet was wrong, instead of simply punishing him for it.”

Finn’s employer also needs to make sure it has its priorities right, adds Hendy: “Motivating the workforce and facilitating morally positive learning was never high on the Dark Side’s agenda.”

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