How important is bringing Open Source to HR? Very. This is a genuine and proven way to elevate our profession. HROS is an incredible thing, long overdue, and worthy of our support.
There is significant, historical support for the benefits of sharing insights. In the US, our legal and academic systems are entirely based on shared knowledge. Doctors (though not drug companies) share, as well. And can we pause right here for a moment? If anyone is worried that sharing HR insights will make their job less important, think again: as in the legal, academic, and medical fields, more information actually lifts the profession. When you pay a doctor or lawyer, for instance, what you’re paying for isn’t access to information, what you’re paying for is their expertise as to what information is most relevant. Ultimately, that’s worth a lot more.
Then there’s also the tech field, from which HR Open Source takes it’s name. Did you know that the internet itself—including every penny of e-commerce, every email, file transfer, website, app, post, streamed video, and call—came about due to an open source philosophy?
During the Cold War, “open source” thinking connected our defense industry with academic research. That meant that work that began as, or was tied to, space exploration, defense capabilities, or other military work quickly became the foundation for concepts more relevant to the civilian world. (This is still the case today.) The internet you’re using right now to read this started as a military project related to computer networking!
Not only has sharing been shown to have positive effects, but the opposite is true, too: exerting tight control over the ownership of ideas and things has been shown to cause markets to suffer. There is a great book called The Gridlock Economy that highlights how many simple solutions to major problems have been blocked when industries are unable to share effectively.
So despite the techie name, “open source” thinking is actually much more than a buzzword. It’s a proven and powerful way for smart people to support one another, get things done, and set the stage for long term growth. It doesn’t make anyone’s job go away, either. What it does do—time and time again—is elevate the discussion.
I’m excited to see the HR community embrace OS, and am eager to see what happens when the practitioners here elevate our game.
Jason Seiden is Co-founder and CEO of Brand Amper, a brand communication platform that captures employee stories at scale and converts them into Employer Brand content and insights.