no make-up organisation


First up I have to confess I’ve stolen this idea from Paul Jacobs (@pauljacobs4real and/or well if I’m really honest, from a comment he made, on a comment on his LinkedIn post: we’ve got it out of the way that the idea for this post was not mine….the rest is my thinking on Paul’s phrase “ The No Make-Up Organisation”.

For those that didn’t click on the link and read Paul’s post…and for those same or otherwise people who missed the no make-up selfie phenomenon on Facebook recently, some back ground. The no make-up selfie trend originated with woman posting pictures of themselves on Facebook and Twitter with no make-up to raise money and the profile of Cancer Awareness and Cancer Research in the UK (see this BBC News article 

I for one am not much of a make-up wearer. For those in the know I wear mascara religiously – ever since my Mum gave me a mirror aged 20, for my first yacht prior to a 3 week cruise with my then boyfriend “so I could put mascara on for New Years’ Eve at the Barrier” (completely unnecessary for the Barrier if you’ve ever been there – particularly more than 10 years ago, on a 19ft yacht that didn’t even have a toilet). Not much has changed since then – I’ve added Thin Lizzy. A bronzing powder to “make me look tanned”. And as the current love of my life told me “make-up looks professional on a lady, but I love you as you are”, and at the advice of one of my best girlfriends, GM of Wendy Hill Cosmetics (shameless plug for, I now apply “yellow stuff” to my red nose before the Thin Lizzy. But I digress.

My bestie and I (I’m in my 30’s now, but like Pauls usage of new terminology), vowed and declared we would never succumb to the no make-up selfie trend on Facebook, despite the fact that she’s an at home mum, and I run every lunch time I can and never reapply post workout, so sit red faced all afternoon at my desk and in meetings. Again, I digress.

My point in this post is what are we hiding? Make Up blurs / blends the reality of a person’s face…so to organisations? Do we hide behind a façade? Have we portrayed a “culture” on social media enhanced for what we want to project? Do we display a different persona at work than we do at home with friends and family? Are there groups / teams / departments within an organisation not quite what they outwardly appear to be? And would we all be better off just laying ourselves bare and being the essence of our true selves all the time?

One case in point I have is a beautiful girl I work with; she doesn’t wear make-up, doesn’t conform to dress expectations (only wears NZ made & designed, preferably second hand), and refuses to change who she is whether at work or at play; what you see is what you get regardless, and as a result she’s one of the most liked and trusted people in the company. How many of us have a work persona? How many of us conform to what is expected at work? In the role, the team and/or the organisation? And how does this affect both us and the people around us?

What would the workplace look like if we were all as real as the no make-up selfie’s on Facebook (assuming they are real of course!)? How would this affect communication, employee engagement, organisational culture and the like? What would happen if we were all inherently who we are? 

I’m not sure how honest we need to be; after all, we who work in HR need to be taken seriously right in the organisation right? Don’t we have a reputable for being boring and staid a lot of the time? But are we any less serious if we bust moves on tables on a Saturday night along with the Sales Director? Maybe.  Maybe not. But perhaps we should give the no make-up organisation a try and see where it leads us?


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