HR Lessons From Duck Dynasty:
The Importance Of Understanding Company Culture
Yes, it’s true and I am not ashamed. We are Duck Dynasty fans at our house. They are a successful family owned business with good business ethics, strong family ties, and longstanding beliefs that support their “dynasty” (not at all unlike the majority of our clients.) Except for the part with the camouflage and beards – we don’t see a lot of that.
In fact, my eight-year-old daughter – our family’s biggest Robertson Family fan – very much enjoyed pointing out to me that the fact that even though I carry around my sweet tea in “fancy Tervis cup in a big old Vera Bradley bag” it really didn’t make me all that different from family eccentric Si Robertson, who is rarely seen without his sweet tea in a 1960s era green Tupperware tumbler. House wine of the South, I suppose.
At any rate, on an episode, the Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson brought his staff in for an HR meeting on a Saturday morning with an HR consultant. Even without the fact that good old Uncle Si ended up handcuffing himself to Willie (that story will be saved for another blog dedicated to workplace safety – someday), the meeting would not have gone well.
First off, HR came in being, well, all “Human Resourcey.” Power pantsuit, matching pumps, agenda written in stone. To her credit, she was there to do “Respectful Workplace” training, and she had a tough crowd. I’m not sure they let her get past the first slide of her presentation. At one point she was begging them to please just let her finish.
The problem wasn’t her presentation, her materials, or her professionalism. In fact, to be fair to her, given the rogue nature of the show, she was destined to fail before she started.
The HR Lesson:
However, the HR lesson to be learned is that HR has to meet our employees where they are. It is critical to understand the culture of an organization before any attempts can be made to be a part of it, let alone influence it or change it. We can’t expect to take the same approach with every company and be successful.
Small businesses, and especially family businesses, are successful just as much because of the people in them as for the product or service they provide, if not more. To be successful, Human Resources has to develop practices and procedures that incorporate the culture that is the core of the business. This must go into training philosophies, onboarding programs, and discipline strategies as well. This means being flexible, understanding the business, and being able to balance the operational needs of the business with the relational needs of the employees.
What would it take to provide HR to the motley crew of bearded, camouflaged “I’d rather be hunting” crew at Duck Commander?
Nothing more than it would take to provide HR to every other organization we serve. Understanding their needs, meeting their expectations, proactively anticipating what needs to be done, maintaining compliance, staying flexible, meeting them where they are, providing excellent service standards – and a great sense of humor!