7 Lessons HR Can Learn from Batman’s 75th Anniversary

7 Lessons HR Can Learn, Batman's 75th Anniversary

7 Lessons HR Can Learn from Batman’s 75th Anniversary


by: Kyle Jones

Whether you read comic books as an adult, as a child or never read a comic book before, one thing is fairly certain. You’ve heard of Batman. Batman, the character, celebrates his 75th anniversary this week and, in celebration, I’ve listed 7 lessons HR can learn from Batman’s 75th Anniversary.

Who is The Bat Man?

Batman's 75th AnniversaryThe above was not a spelling error as the name was originally spelled as two during the character’s early appearances. He was The Bat Man and is the creation of Bob Kane.

According to Wikipedia:

Batman is the secret identity of Bruce Wayne, an American billionaire, industrialist, and philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on criminals, an oath tempered with the greater ideal of justice. Wayne trains himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume in order to fight crime. Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his crime-fighting partner, Robin, his butler Alfred Pennyworth, the police commissioner Jim Gordon, and occasionally the heroine Batgirl.   

The Seven Lessons

You might think,”how can anyone link a comic book character to human resources?” It’s quite simple, really. All you need is a bit of simple detective work and fact-checking, of course. This is essential because we don’t want to come across acting like a joker!  (Sorry, couldn’t resist the lame play on words.)Batman's 75th Anniversary, 7 Lessons for HR

Lesson One:  Be Original


Some say that there is no longer a new story. Instead, they are simply the reworking or repackaging of older stories. And, if I think about it, that might be true in some cases.  It is not, however, true with YOU. Each person is an original with our own thoughts, voices, opinions, etc. I believe we were given that originality for a reason. Don’t compare yourself to someone else and think you are less than they may be. Instead, compare yourself as you are now to what you could be.

Lesson Two: Embrace Technology


We live in an age of technology more so than any generation to-date. HR should not run away from HR but should embrace it. It’s not going away unless something happens to cause a natural disaster or something of that magnitude.  Maybe we should take a cue from Batman’s playbook.

Ever heard of the BatMobile?  The BatPlane? The Batarang?

Lesson Three: Adapt to Change


DC Comics loves a Crisis.  It’s true.  The greater the crisis might be…the better. Some might say that a crisis for DC Comics has, on occasion, expanded to infinite proportions. It is inevitable, just as it is in the real world, that the aftermath of a crisis brings change. Batman’s origin has changed – or “retconned” in comic book speak – over the years due to a variety of reasons.Batman 2014, Batman 75th Anniversary, HR Lessons

The children of the 1940s-1950s who grew into young adults still reading comics changed the writing style of the 1960s-70s. The Batman TV show in the 1960s brought a lighter style of storytelling to the comics; however, the reverse occurred in the 1970s and brought Batman back to grim and gritty. Any comic book character who has remained relevant has been adapted to the times by the writers and artists.

Have you ever heard of Captain Flag or Golden Girl?  Perhaps, they didn’t adapt to change as did Captain America and Wonder Woman?

Change is inevitable.  

Would it not be better to embrace change rather than to fight it?    

Lesson Four: Be Observant

A true detective must be observant.  This is essential and is a key element to the make of Batman’s character.  Isn’t that also true for HR?  Must HR not also be observant? Would those skills be needed when reviewing a resume?  How about during an interview?

Lesson Five: Be a Team Player


The casual reader might think that Batman would be a loner; however, this is not the case.  Batman has been a member of several teams over the decades and has a network of operatives. This teaches us that no one can reach his/her true potential as an island. Instead, we should learn from others and teach others just the same.

Lesson Six: Accept failure


Everyone fails at something.  Batman's 75th Anniversary

Accept it.  

Failure is often seen as a negative but that isn’t always true.  Failure is inevitable. But, just as with change, would it not be better to embrace it?  There is a lesson to be learned in every failure.

So, if a failure brings a lesson, would it not be to our advantage to consider failure as an opportunity to become something better?


It is what we do when we fail that matters.  


Lesson Seven: Be Your Best


Batman is a human who has honed his skills – both physical and mental.  He is a master fighter in hand-to-hand combat and is a brilliant strategist. He is not a super-powered alien from a destroyed planet. He isn’t an intergalactic space cop with a ring that can do anything he imagines.  He is just a simple human being.

Yet, this simple human being has the knowledge to stop Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern and many others.  He has strived to be the best no matter the cost.

Would this not be what we want for ourselves? No, I don’t mean be able to take down Superman. I mean to be the best that we can be.

Meanwhile….Back at the Hall of Human Resources


I can’t escape the idea of comics and heroes since that’s the theme of our 2014 Mississippi HR conference.  It’s a great theme on several layers for me but, mainly, due to my history with comics.   So, I challenge you to find the HR Hero – or whatever type of Hero you choose to be – within.

Will you save the world from a crisis of infinite proportions? Maybe.  Maybe not. Will you become better HR managers if you follow the above?  Maybe.  Maybe not. Will you be encouraged to strive to be better people by the information given in the seven steps?  certainly hope so.

Be great!  Be FANTASTIC!

And, as this story draws to a close, I bid you farewell until next time!


7 Lessons HR Can Learn From Batman's 75th Anniversary


Images featuring Batman are used to celebrate the character.  Batman is the property of DC Entertainment.  To learn more about DC Comics, visit DCCOMICS.COM.

To learn more about the 19th Annual Mississippi Human Resource Conference & Expo, visit MSSHRM.ORG.

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