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What HR is to Me … Now

May 31, 2012

Reading all the posts this month from newbie bloggers and career HR practitioners got me hyped up — and it got me thinking: what HR is to me … now?

I still believe HR’s primary reason for being is to balance the needs of the employer with the rights of the employee. And I still believe the employer is the “more important” party in that equation. Because everything HR does is to ensure the employer can succeed and excel at its business goals.

I still believe most practicing HR professionals are too busy putting out fires, mitigating liability and justifying their existence to be especially innovative or strategic. And I still believe the “right,” “good” and “fun” things are hard to find in the HR trenches. But there’s still nothing wrong with that

Well, except the “justifying their existence” part. Because if that’s going on in your organization, something is wrong with that company or something is wrong with you. Figure out which and make changes. Stat.

However, now I believe HR doesn’t have to get bogged down in the little things. And I believe HR can ensure right, good and fun things are found in our workplaces.

How?

Simple. By sharing and caring.

  • Sharing. I wrote a post toward the end of last year entitled “Get All You Can. Can All You Get. Sit On The Lid.” It was about the tendency in HR to hoard duties until we become overwhelmed. This mentality is getting HR no where — and it is hurting the organizations and people we’re supposed to serve! We’ve got to accept that we can’t do everything and we shouldn’t do everything! We have to work on evaluating and assigning work to the person/department best equipped to handle it. Sometimes, that person/department isn’t HR! So get over yourself, identify and teach others how to do the work, give it away and let it go.
  • Caring. I wrote a guest post in February on another blog entitled “Rules Weren’t Meant To Be Broken.” It was about how the policies and procedures we create for our organizations are written to be good and do good. Enforcement in the spirit they were intended is good and right — and, therefore, fun! So I’ve chosen to focus on improving policies, procedures and practices to ensure they are current, clear and consistent with the goals, values, vision and brand. Some may call this strategic work. Maybe it is. But I know it is essential work for HR to be involved in if we want the employer/employee relationship to remain balanced. And that’s all that matters.

One more thing on the sharing/caring note. Professional networking. It’s crucial and critical. If it wasn’t for the connections I’ve made over the last year, my view on what HR is to me wouldn’t have changed much. I would be stuck and frustrated with myself and my career instead of excited about the journey I’m on. Sharing ideas with other professionals, helping each other through challenges, encouraging one another to keep pressing … It’s what keeps HR professionals engaged and enthused about the work we do and the people we serve — so we can ignite the spark in others. Don’t take that lightly and don’t take it for granted. Cultivate professional friendships. Lots of them!

Accordingly, I want to thank my guests one more time for their fantastic posts this month!

  • Thank you, Kevin Kuhn, for reminding me that being more manager than leader will always land you stuck in the muck and that everyone’s function is bad-ass, no matter how great or small.
  • Thank you, John Hudson, for pointing out that ‘the strategic’ sometimes has to take a backseat to ‘the work’ and reminding me that HR has to be ready and willing to pick up and run any part of its function.
  • Thank you, Yvonne Davis, for showing me how to lead with wisdom and compassion, for teaching me to seek teachable moments — and for being the most kick-ass mom this girl could ever ask for!
  • Thank you, Janine Truitt, for breaking down the 5 A’s of HR: assist, advise, assert, administer and advocate! (Sooooo gonna use that!) And for knowing the HR niche is always evolving
  • Thank you, Keirsten Greggs, for reminding me that recruiting/hiring is where it all starts and that HR must be available, conscious of both internal and external customers and focused on providing solutions.
  • Thank you, Christine Assaf, for showing how to build a solid HR house and reminding me the foundation is in education, compliance and practice.

So much for me not getting introspective and reflective this month, huh? My bad. But the reality is that you can’t grow and move forward without it. It’s right, good and fun!

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