The Cultural Relevance of Nathan Lane – #HRTechConf

birdcageAs we kick off the HR Tech Conference I am fully and completely prepared to hear the word ‘culture’ at every turn. There’s a solution for that after all. Well, truth be told, quite a number of them.

In HR speak it’s Culture. With a capitol “C.”

And you know how when you say a word over and over and over again it begins to sound, to your own ear, like it’s not a real word?  We have had quite a few of those emerge in the HR realm over the past few years:  culture, talent, brand, engagement, strategic, social.

These words – these concepts – mean something. They ARE important. They have merit. So we’ve become accustomed to tossing them out in our industry conversations and making sure one (if not all) appear in our conference session titles. To sound smart? Appear current? I dunno.  All I know is we’ve overused certain phrases to the point they’ve become background filler noise – cicadas humming in the nighttime. Charlie Brown’s teacher droning in front of the class.

Maybe it’s cuz we’re in Vegas but I feel the urge to spice things up a bit. Live on the edge.

Therefore, I have decided, for the duration of the week, to say “Nathan Lane’ in place of “culture’ whenever someone wants to discuss the ‘C’ word. Why Nathan Lane? I’ve always liked him, he popped up on a SATC rerun the other day, and he’s been making the rounds of various talk shows lately as his new play is opening on Broadway.

Plus, well, The Birdcage.

So, when an eager young chap at an #HRTechConf booth asks me “What’s more critical when evaluating successful talent for your organization? Should you hire for KSAs or culture fit?” I shall reply “I hire for Nathan Lane!”

While enjoying a tasty apéritif with friends and colleagues at a swank cocktail lounge, if someone poses the question “what is the primary reason organizations fail when trying to drive innovation?” I shall chime in “Nathan Lane of course.”

You’re here to map out some social recruiting strategies? Start by telling your Nathan Lane story.

Looking to expand employee wellness offerings at your company? Make sure Nathan Lane supports your efforts.

Yeah. That’s kind of fun.

Now … what word can I use to replace ‘talent?’


  1. M Faulkner says:

    Nathan Lane is one of the most important things that companies can focus on – couldn’t agree more.

    But even more important, people need to hold on to their top Simon Peggs. (Why Simon Pegg? Because his name makes me giggle and I love his movies. And he was amazing on Top Gear.)

  2. Kelly O says:

    Well, “talent” is obviously Robin Williams.

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