I love Human Resources. I love almost everything about it.
- Many HR headaches are overwhelmingly difficult, but that gives me a mental high.
- Many HR solutions are common sense, and while they come with a fairly large eye roll, they also allow me take a mental holiday and still seem amazingly brilliant!
- Many HR issues are deeply personal or intimate but they enable me to be caring, compassionate and empathetic.
- But many HR professionals don’t take their job seriously, have stagnated their own and our collective profession, and/or have lost their way and are whacking their way through it doing harm to all that is in their way.
My colleagues here at Performance I Create are all outstanding HR professionals. They are respected experts in their field, they are creative and innovative thinkers and problem solvers, and they are committed to continuous improvement. Moreover, each of them have their own reasons why they chose and/or love their profession and many of them are sharing those reasons with our readers this month.
What about you?
Did you intentionally choose the HR road or did you stumble upon it? Did someone push you to go that direction or did you one day, oblivious to how you got there, find yourself knee deep in the field of HR?
In the 20+ years I’ve been knee deep in the field, I have never questioned my career path.
I accredit this to my strong sense of purpose as it relates to HR and if you give me a few minutes of your time, I’ll share with you what I believe to be HR’s purpose.
#1. Increase Communication
We all know contented cows give more milk. I believe HR and Leadership share the responsibility of making the employees content; however, HR has some specific roles in this regard.
- We must help facilitate two-way communication in the workplace.
- We must coordinate knowledge sharing, mentoring and coaching on teams.
- We must help managers and teams discuss and design the work to ensure we are plowing with plow horses and racing with racehorses.
- We must provide the tools, tangible and otherwise, to the workforce to help facilitate team building, development and effectiveness.
- We must encourage true open door policies to better enable truth to power and to better pave the way for sincere and thoughtful engagement.
#2. Increase Organization’s Bottom Line
Why do so many of us settle for the assumption that HR is only a revenue sucking line item? I believe HR can and should be a source for increasing profits!
- We must analyze how our organizational structure affects efficiencies so we can implement changes that increase them.
- We must analyze our personnel costs and identify ways to decrease them without threatening employee satisfaction and retention.
- We must help review and improve operational and administration processes to decrease waste and redundancy and increase productivity, quality, customer satisfaction, etc.
- We must fully understand the organization’s business…including what it sells, who it sells it to, and who it is trying to steal the business from…in order to improve workplace planning and staffing.
I could go on and on – HR can and should be a $ generating machine…we just do it from the inside!
#3. Increase Capacity of Organization’s Leadership
I believe HR has incredible influence with leadership and, as such, has the ability to effect self-awareness and improvement. Managers at all levels are good at their trade but they aren’t necessarily good leaders.
- We should be experts in communication and conflict resolution and mentor leaders accordingly.
- We should understand different leadership styles and help managers understand how and when to use them effectively.
- We should have creative problem solving skills and encourage/probe our managers to “think harder” when they find themselves in a pickle.
- We should understand human dynamics and help managers work with and for their teams.
- We should be fantastic networkers/relationship builders and should set the example in this regard.
#4. Decrease the Organization’s Risk
I believe HR needs to help ensure the organization doesn’t fall off a cliff.
- We must keep abreast of legislation and regulations as well as be knowledgeable about our grants and contracts to ensure we are compliant.
- We must train leadership and the workforce on topics including safety, customer service, workplace behavior, inclusion, professionalism and various compliance issues in order to decrease claims against the organization.
- We must ensure consistent application of policies and processes.
- We must ensure good faith treatment of all employees.
- We should be VERY GOOD at documenting all of these things so we can better defend the organization’s decisions should claims arise.
I believe the above four things are why HR exists. Over two decades I have focused on those things, over two decades I have disciplined myself to align my decisions within those things, and over two decades I have enjoyed my work, felt satisfied with my outcomes, and looked forward to another day of it.
It’s powerful, the focus on purpose, and I believe it adds authenticity and value to me, my profession and my organization. But more importantly, it has been the reason I love what I do and the power behind my commitment to do it well.
Give it a try and do me a favor – let me know how it works out for you!