Learn HR From Harry Potter

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 1973 , Published on 07 June 2012
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Most of us have grown up with Harry Potter often dreaming about living in the mystical world of Hogwarts. Little did we know that our very own Harry would be able to provide exciting new insights to understand the nuances of HR world! Hard to believe? Well read on!

Recruitment & Selection

Most HR managers lose their night’s sleep over trying to recruit the best fits in their organizations. What would they not trade for a Sorting Hat! The Sorting Hat which understands every individual’s true potential & personality and deftly places them in a House where he is a true fit. Person-job fit and person-culture fit are crucial aspects to consider during selection of a candidate.


It is imperative to retain talent especially in the current scenario where job-hopping is a norm. Hence, a recruiter has to bear this in mind while selecting a prospective employee. The recruiter must ensure that the values and belief system of the candidate is aligned with that of the organization. This creates a sense of belongingness in the employees much like the strong sense of attachment that each of the students have for their Houses.

As HR managers do not have the Sorting Hat at their disposal, they can make do with certain techniques like Behavioral Interviews, Work Samples which help in ascertaining the personalities of the candidates and thus their culture fit. Many companies are now beginning to use Virtual Assessment Tools in addition to the routine pre-employment tests which provide a realistic job preview to the candidates helping them to understand the working environment.

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is increasingly coming in the limelight especially in the wake of the high levels of attrition. Most HR managers would love to have their employees as contented as the Hogwartians are in the Castle. Harry Potter gives interesting engagement ideas like the House Championship. For instance, the students are awarded House Points for all their achievements which motivate them to perform better.  As the entire House is rewarded for a student’s accomplishments, a feeling of team spirit is instilled in all.

While work itself is very important to engage an employee, team building is essential to build a foundation for trusting relationships. Results have to be woven into relationships to truly motivate and engage an employee. Making every member accountable for the entire team’s performance creates mutual dependence and drives the team towards better performance. It also leads to team cohesiveness which helps in integrating the employee with the organizational culture and thus satisfies the need for psychological intimacy.

Hogwartians look forward to Hogsmeade trips as it provides them a much needed exciting break from the hectic schedule. Here is another idea for engaging employee. Occasional retreats go a long way in refreshing the employees and rejuvenating them to enhance their productivity. Many organizations conduct outbound activities, adventure sports etc to engage their employees.

It also provides a great boost to interpersonal relationships at workplace. Outdoor sports give an excellent break from an otherwise sedentary lifestyle at workplace not unlike Quidditch which holds the wizards and witches hooked on to the game. Nowadays, many organizations conduct inter as well as intra company sports competitions latest in the league being cricket matches on the lines of IPL!

Succession planning

Dumbledore, one of the greatest wizards in the magical world, ensures that Hogwarts is protected even after he dies. He makes a perfect plan when he realises that he is going to die and hence sees to it that Professor Snape carries on after him. This serves as an excellent example for succession planning. Succession planning is essential to prepare an organization for unexpected and undesirable events. It ensures that right people are available at the right time when vacancies are created in key positions.

Organizations have to be as astute as Dumbledore in placing the right people in such roles.  Instead of having complex assessment criteria for selection, these criteria can be introduced gradually in the development process keeping the selection simple. Focus should be on the development process as it is crucial for honing the candidate to match the role expectations required for that critical position.

Many organizations have realized the need to extend the definition of succession planning beyond management ranks with increasing decentralization in decision making and an empowered workforce. Most companies now have Talent Databases or Talent Pools in place to tap potential at every level which enable the organization to take an informed succession decision. By crafting a thoughtful approach to succession planning, organizations can ensure that they live on forever just like Hogwarts!

It is amazing how various aspects of HR have been intricately woven into a tale of fiction. This shows that HR practices are reflected all around us. All we need is to look with a different eye!

This article has been authored by Vinaya Gedam & Satya Sree R from SIBM Pune and XIMB respectively.

Image Source: http://makinglifeabliss.blogspot.in/2011/07/harry-potter-party.html


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