Don’t HR Me !!

This past week I had one of my many “commute convos” on the way home from work. I have a pretty long commute and I love to fill it with calls with friends. I know it’s a bit archaic to have actual conversations with people these days, but I’m sticking to it. They are often exhilarating because I catch up with people and hear the great stories and experiences they are having.

During this one particular call, my friend (also in HR) was telling me about a recent chat with her husband who was struggling with his job. He wanted to throw in the towel and look for something different. (We’ve ALL had that kind of talk with someone !!) His wife was being awesome and listening to him. As he paused, she pulled out her expertise and started coaching and exploring options for him when he held up his hand and exclaimed – “Don’t HR me !!”

We both howled about this story because she was doing what comes naturally. All people in every profession do this. We tend to keep things at the surface level and talk about our profession. Not true ?? When you meet someone for the first time and learn their name, what’s your first question? I’ll bet you that it’s “So, what do you do for a living?”

We are fiercely defined by our career and occupation. If you want to test how true that is, talk to someone in transition. One of the driving challenges of getting that next new job is getting over the feeling that our job IS who we are. Don’t get me wrong, it is a huge component of our life, but it is only one component.

Confined WallsWhat’s the harm in getting to know people past their profession? If all we have to talk about is work with each other, the conversations would get pretty predictable don’t you think? It may give you the illusion of some safety bubble, but it keeps people at arm’s length.

I have dear HR friends right now who are celebrating new accomplishments, mourning loss of friends and/or family, looking for their next great gig, seeing life through the eyes of their children, trying on a new city they just moved to, etc.

I love hearing about every aspect of what they’re going through !! They’re very cool in reciprocating as well. You see other than my great HR job, I’m a husband, father, musician, writer, comic book movie nerd, sold out musicophile, Scout leader and social media wonk to name a few things.

In just a few weeks, I’m going to the SHRM Annual Conference in Las Vegas and I’m geeked !! I’ve had a goal the past few years to try to meet every attendee, and last year I  made some serious strides. This year, I’m keeping the same target, but I won’t ask one of them what they do. I already know they’re in HR !! I want to be different and get to know them for the phenomenal people they are !!

It may make some folks uncomfortable, but I’m good with that and I have a motive to do this other than being an extrovert. I think that the more HR people are connected as humans, the better HR people we will be in our organizations. You see, you won’t look at your employees other than people you happen to work with unless you’re connected to other humans yourself.

This week reach out and make a call during your commute. Fill your travel time with connections to those friends that you promise yourself you’ll call. Don’t pause anymore. Give them a call and ask them how life is going. I know they’d love to hear from you !!

You never know, I may be calling you as well !!

What Do You Think ??

Feedback is a tricky thing. When we talk about this topic, our focus is how we give feedback to others. This is needed because it doesn’t occur naturally, or often enough, in our organizations. It’s interesting to me though that when we write about feedback, we personally are never in the mix. Since the direction of feedback is always outward, isn’t is possible that we won’t receive any ourselves?

We are more than willing to give our opinion about people. It doesn’t take much prodding at all. The challenge is that when this occurs, we tend to list negative items or note things that we think need to be “addressed.” This is technically a form of feedback and it’s typically what people expect. It seems that it’s harder to give positive feedback, but it’s just that we haven’t practiced.

Feedback IconsTo get started though, I’d like to suggest something different. What if you asked people for feedback? Seriously, What if you asked people – “What do you think?” but it was about you and your performance. I know this is absolutely out of everyone’s comfort zone, but it’s an alternative approach.

The fact is – we all have blind spots. We may be behaving or performing in a way that is affecting others, but we don’t know what’s happening. You may not be “clicking” with them, or something just feels out of kilter. There is also a significant norm you’d be breaking because asking others to give you feedback may put people on the defensive. They may not know how to respond because they are stuck in the old model of either giving or receiving negative feedback the majority of time.

I know that this is a big stretch, so here are some starters to help you ask and also seek feedback from others.

  • What am I doing right ?? – You can set the stage and approach for these types of interaction by being positive going in. You have to get over the self-esteem barrier that may hold you back. This isn’t for others to brag about you. It’s to help them see that feedback can be positive !!
  • Where do you see me being an obstacle ?? – We all get in the way of someone. There are things that hinder our performance from being the best it can be. If we’re an obstacle to others, it’s better to know what that looks like so you can address it and, hopefully, remove it.
  • What’s an area where I could improve ?? – People want to share how you could do better. Asking it this way stops them from launching on you with a barrage of negativity. Ask people for things that are tangible and relevant and not just differences in personality or approach.
  • How can I help you do better in your role ?? – This one will throw people off completely. You see, we TELL people what to do and to get work done. The majority of people have a “task” mentality and they want to see defined stops and starts. By offering to help someone else you develop yourself and also relationships. Both are key to you doing well.

I know that this goes against what people think when it comes to the world of feedback. I want you to be encouraged though. I know this works because I’ve tried to practice it myself with peers as well as people who’ve been my boss. It’s a bit wonky when it starts, but I’ve seen it blossom to more open, regular and consistent communication.

Check out other’s thoughts on this as part of the Feedback Carnival that Helen Amery is doing out of the UK !! It’s fabulous !!

So, now that you’ve seen this different option . . . what do you think ??

Coffee and Apple Pie !!

Let me pause here at the beginning so you can imagine the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the mouth-watering smell of fresh, hot apple pie. Got your attention? Good. Now, let me share the story behind these delectable items.

This past week I was at a McDonald’s. It was midafternoon and not during a meal rush. I went up to the counter and there Tracey met me with a smile and a warm greeting !!

“Welcome to McDonald’s! How’s your day going?”

After my shock and surprise at Tracey’s demeanor, I replied, “I’m great and how are you?”

“I’m having a great day. What can I get for you?”

McDonald's Coffee“I’d like a large, black coffee.” (Author’s aside – I’m a coffee fiend and McDonald’s is always good for a great cup of java !!)

I paid and Tracey said she’d like to take care of the guests behind me and then she told me she’d get my coffee. I was fine with that and went back to my seat to talk to some folks about an HR issue I was tackling. A few minutes passed by and I didn’t have my coffee. I wasn’t upset in the least, but I did want some caffeine so I went back up to the counter.

“Tracey, I didn’t get my coffee yet. Could you help me?”

“Oh my, I’m so sorry. I missed that. Let me take care of that for you right now.” She asked another team member to get me the coffee and he responded, “Sir, sorry that happened, but here you go. I’m sure this will be a great way to get through the rest of your day!”

Here were two people just Geeked about their job and it was so refreshing. The story would be great, in my opinion, if it stopped right there. I went back to my conversation and after a few minutes, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Tracey stood behind me and said, “Sir, I’m sorry that I was late with your coffee. That shouldn’t happen. Would you please accept this?” She handed me a small bag.

McDonald's Apple PieAgain, astonishment. Here I am in a fast food restaurant where I’ve had more challenging experiences than great experiences and I am dumbfounded twice. In the bag there were two piping hot apple pies that would go great with my coffee.

I left the restaurant after having a very memorable time. As I was driving back to my office, I reflected on what happened. You see, Tracey took a situation and did what she could to make it better. She didn’t ask her manager about this. She had the ability to do what she thought was right.

Can your employees do this? Do they have the ability to do their job without obstacles standing in their way? Are the systems and “norms” in your organization ones that allow performance, or do they hinder them?

Wouldn’t it be great if employees knew that they had the freedom that Tracey has? This is where HR comes in. I would like to propose that our job is to see where obstacles exist that hinder employees from doing their job well and remove them. Those obstacles are real, but we don’t address them. More often than not we wonder why people aren’t complying with the processes that we continue to produce.

We need to switch our focus if it’s an obstacle to others. When you do this, you will enjoy HR more than you have in the past. Take the steps Tracey did. It makes an incredible, tangible difference !!

Her simple action made my day. She was an amazing example of how anyone can make culture great !! And . . . the pies went great with my coffee !!

Being Mortar !!

This weekend I had the chance to work on another Eagle Scout project for one of my scouts. I always enjoy working on these because I love to see the scout’s advance, do great work and it’s a chance to follow their lead. His project, like most of them, has a large scope. He’s building a new backstop for a High School girl’s softball team that his sister played for. It involved tons of digging, moving dirt and building a wall using concrete block and mortar.

MortarWe had some construction experts with us who laid the first course (layer) of block for the wall and they moved with grace and ease. As they continued down the row, they asked if someone wanted to “jump in” and clean up all the seams of the wall. I volunteered and I received instructions on what to do and given three tools to use – an edging trowel, a joiner and a brush. The goal was to use these three tools to make sure that excess mud (mortar) was removed as well as the seams were filled and then cleaned off to get ready for the next course of bricks.

Recently, I’ve seen a disturbing trend both in the workplace and in our profession. There are more and more efforts to split and tear down things. In the workplace we continue to develop systems that are punitive thinking that the more we keep people in check, the better they’ll perform. Personnel files grow and grow with reams of paper to document people’s missteps. I have seen notes hung up in workplaces stating that there will be consequences if people refuse to comply with this or that with the sentiment that the manager is communicating effectively.

In our profession, I keep seeing blogs and articles that tear us apart. I feel that it’s good to have a critical eye or point out how we can improve if something isn’t working. But, there are more and more blogs with labels that are derogatory and belittle aspects of HR. We need to understand that HR jobs follow a bell curve from those that are highly transactional to those that are highly strategic. One isn’t “better” than another, they are just in different stages. Companies may not want HR that is conceptual and strategic. I personally am bummed when I hear that, but I understand that it happens.

I have to be honest that I struggle when I see people who feel that negativity and cynicism will improve who we are and what we do. I read them and learn from views that are different from mine. It’s just an approach that is contrary to who I am. I’m surprised when people say that being positive is so hard and rare in HR and in the workplace.

I choose to be mortar instead. I want to see our field, and our workplaces, be places that come together to build a culture that moves a company forward. I want to use the tools that I have to join people together, remove the excess items they don’t need and offer a brush of empathy to reassure them that their contributions matter.

You may see this approach as naïve, utopian or unreasonable. The thing is, I’ll keep doing it anyway because I see it working. When I see notes, I tear them down. When I hear criticism, I look for possible solutions. When I see that things aren’t changing, I get involved on purpose.

The construction expert who taught me how to do mortar was encouraging and thought I could do well even though I had never done it before. He even said, “If you run into a problem, or don’t feel it’s going well, tell me and I’ll help you.” He believed in me and told me what to do. He was positive in his approach and thankful that someone was helping him with his work. The work was hard and I have sore muscles, torn up hands and scraped up knees. However, the mortar is placed and the first course is laid to be the foundation of what’s to come !!

Practice the 3 R’s !!

It intrigues me that when the majority of HR conversations occur, they are around broad areas.  They range from regulations to compliance, HR technology to HR analytics, performance management to being strategic.  Interestingly enough there is something missing in the midst of the noise.

What’s missing ??  Employees.

When I see the myriad of pros and cons about certification options, the argument is between the terms of  “knowledge” or “competency.”  Again, concepts and not people.  The majority of our HR education and training is to become proficient with systems and processes.  But, what takes up the majority of our time and efforts? Employees.

I’m not saying this as if employees are a negative.  Far from it.  Employees are THE reason why I practice HR at all !!

So, if our interaction with employees make up the majority of HR, why are they “missing”?  I think it’s because the other areas of HR can be defined and wrapped in structure.  We can create systems that have a beginning, middle and end.  There is more of a linear approach to these areas of HR, and we appreciate the step-by-step aspects of things that can be accomplished time after time.

Employees aren’t linear.  Isn’t that fantastic?  Seriously, who wants to be around people who are predictable, bland and one-dimensional?  Is that who YOU want to be as an HR practitioner or consultant?  Would HR be better if people conveniently fit our lives like a form to be completed?  I don’t think so.

What if you did have a system that would help you describe working with employees?  What if you had three simple words that could change your perspective towards people each and every day you went to work?

My son is a senior in high school and he just started his first job.  He is making smoothies and he’s geeked about it !!  He has a uniform to wear, of course, which is intriguing because he’s a bit of a non-conformist like his dad.  However, when he saw the message of the uniform, he put it on willingly.  Why ?? Take a look.

Three R's ShirtThis is such a positive and uplifting message !! Remember . . . he makes smoothies.  When customers come to his store and see the crew decked out in these shirts, how do you think they feel?  Even if you had been experiencing a rough day, I think you’d be getting something if it revived, recharged and rebuilt you.

Now, think if you approached HR using these three R’s. If you went into work every day saying to yourself, “I’m going to revive all of those around me !!”  Think of the energy you’d bring to your role.  You’d never think about being burnt out in dealing with people because now you were going to take the time and focus to revive things.

How would your day go if you knew that you were recharged yourself and you had the chance to recharge others?  I tell you it would be awesome.  Knowing that what you did brought things to life would make HR a profession that people would be asking to join !!

Finally, if you looked at rebuilding people and lifting them up on a daily basis, I bet that you would welcome the chance to work with employees.  How would people appear to you if you knew your efforts would make them better, more productive and valued?

So, there you have it.  The three R’s don’t make people less challenging or unique, but they do give you a “structure” to work with employees. The key to remember in all of this is that HR is about people.  As a person yourself, take these three R’s to heart and see how much you, and your employees, enjoy who you are and what you do !!

How’s Your Tank ??

As you read this, you are facing another workweek. What’s your attitude going in?  Is it positive, negative, anxious?  It’s interesting that we’re always concerned with how we face the workweek, but what about all of the other employees?  They also have the same opportunity to decide how their workweek starts.

We’ve become numb when it comes to the workplace.  We go through the same patterns and motions as we enter each day.  There is truly very little variety.  When there is any significant change, we are really thrown off.  We want stability and things to be predictable.

But, have you asked yourself if your predictable pattern is healthy or not?

Fish BowlsI’ll be honest, I take my amazing work environment for granted too often.  I was reminded of this when a dear friend of mine, Brian Griffin, and I crossed paths at a favorite coffee haunt one day before work.  As we headed to our cars, he said, “Have a great day !! Remember, you become like the tank in which you swim.”

I couldn’t get this thought out of my head. The workplace is the tank that we jump into everyday and the people we work with are swimming right along side us.  If I asked the others around me, what would they say about our “tank” ??

The work environment is a key indicator of your company’s culture.  We spend an incredible amount of time in our lives at work so it shouldn’t be something that is just taken for granted.  HR has the prime opportunity to work on the fish tank and make sure that it’s healthy, inviting and fun !!  Did you recognize that last word . . . “fun” ??  It’s something that can happen.

People want to enjoy their workplace. They may still come to work if they don’t, but that doesn’t excuse HR from trying to change that.  So, what things could you address that keep people from enjoying their work?  What are things that are within your reach that could be changed with a simple move?

The challenge in making this come to life is that everyone’s workplace is unique.  There is no one size fits all formula to make this work.  That allows you to be creative.  How exciting is that?

This week step back and take a look at your workplace.  Evaluate if it is a place where people enjoy themselves and look forward to coming in.  If it needs some cleaning, then do that as well.  HR should own this.

From now on, before you go into work, ask yourself – “How’s my tank ??”

I Am Groot !!

I am an avowed HR Nerd. This is something I embrace and have since my high school days.  Growing up I collected comic books (unfortunately my mother thought they took up “too much space” . . .) and I loved them.  I couldn’t get enough of the action, the heroes, the villains and the stories.  I’ve kept that hobby going with my son.  He has a collection of comic books too, and we’ve been able to share something else – comic book movies !!

Whenever a Marvel or DC movie comes out, we are at the theater on opening night. This past summer we absolutely had to see Guardians of the Galaxy !!  It was phenomenal from start to finish (and my amazing wife bought the DVD for my birthday). If you don’t even finish this post, you should make sure you see this movie !!

I Am GrootMy favorite character by far is Groot. You’ve never seen anything like him because he’s like a giant tree and the only thing he can say is, “I am Groot.”  It doesn’t matter what the situation is he doesn’t have any other vocabulary.  In the movie he is the most empathetic individual in the group.  He is caring, heroic and even sacrificial in his friendship.  In one scene he protects the other Guardians and when his partner protests, he says, “WE are Groot.”

And this ties into HR how ??

I went to an Ohio SHRM State Council meeting at the Capitol Square Sheraton in Columbus, Ohio recently. When I arrived in our meeting room, there was George one of the Sheraton staff.  He turned quickly and said, “Steve !!” and hugged me.  “I was hoping you’d be here. Where were you last time?”  I explained that I just couldn’t make it and was sorry to miss seeing him. George left the room to tell Theresa and Mike that I had made the meeting.  Theresa shared with me that at the end of December she was named Employee of the Month for the hotel and Employee of the Year for the chain regionally.  We hugged.  Mike came out on a break to tell me about his family and we hugged.  The meeting went well and then Sammy came to the room after we had finished for the day just to say, “Hi !!” and said he couldn’t miss seeing me.  We hugged.

This is humbling in ways that are hard to express.  These great folks aren’t my employees and I see them at most three times a year for less than a few minutes each time. It is always great to see the staff at the Sheraton because we are Groot !!

Too often we get caught up in HR focusing on the people who are only within arm’s reach. Many HR practitioners I know struggle to make connections with people they work with, and that is tough.  I understand that it’s hard to encourage you to take in people who are outside your day-to-day environment, but I’d like to have you consider something different.

We can “practice” HR wherever we are and whoever we interact with.  This is because people are the basis for who we are and what we do.  You don’t have to limit yourself to the systems that you feel you control.  People all around you desperately want someone to connect with them, notice them and understand that what they do has value.

You can be that person who reaches out.  You can be the person who takes a few minutes to make sure someone isn’t missed.  You can be the person who people miss if they expected you to be there.  You can be the hug someone melts in because it came at the right time.

This week, take a look and see who is around you.  Take the step to be different and reach out.  I know this works and I know you have it in you because in HR – We are Groot !!

Lorax HR !!

I don’t know about you, but I have always been a huge Dr. Suess fan !! When I was young I remember my mom reading me Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish among many others.  He was able to rhyme and bring things to life in an incredibly simple way.  I’m sure his books helped me learn to read as he has for thousands of others.

He also opened my imagination.  If he didn’t have a word that others traditionally used, he made them up.  The worlds he created were colorful and also believable.  It didn’t seem impossible that an entire civilization could live on the bloom of a flower, or that an elephant could hear them.  He was a contrarian who defined new rules and did it in a way to educate people. He was also an activist who wanted to bring messages like the materialism of Christmas or the destruction of our environment to people’s attention.  He did in a timeless way so that generations could continue to learn from his tales.

The Lorax Book CoverMy absolute fave by far was The Lorax.  Here is a story that resonates with me even today in the world of HR.  You see, when the Lorax spoke he said, “I am the Lorax.  I speak for the trees.” He spoke up for them because they could not speak for themselves.  The trees were being destroyed so that a company could make Thneeds for people to wear and everyone wanted them.  The trees were being harvested left and right and it didn’t matter that they were disappearing completely because the company had to have the material to make their product.

The “trees” we have in our organizations are our employees.  I’m not saying we’re destroying them, or using them to make sure the company moves forward at all costs.  But we need to be the ones who speak for them.  You see, if you ask Management who HR represents, they would say “Management.”  And, if you asked employees who HR represent, they’d say . . . “Management.”  So, how do they get a voice?

It’s time for us to realize that we are there for all people – both Management and employees.  We have to be the voice of reason that listens to all sides of situations and act as the bridge between those sides to bring resolution.  I get concerned that we often sway to the Management side only because we feel that’s where HR “should” be.  It’s true that we should look out for the best interest of our organizations, but that should include all employees !!

As this new year starts, take some time to evaluate who you spend the most time with.  Are you balanced and work with all staff?  If not, what’s keeping you from doing that?  We need to be the Lorax in our company.  We need to stand up and be vocal about our people.  By doing this we can help drive our culture and make sure that people aren’t silent.

So, as you start this week keep this quote in front of you – ” I am HR and I speak for employees !! ” You’ll be glad you do !!

Thankful.

This past week my family, along with many others, celebrated Thanksgiving.  I am still a traditionalist when it comes to the holidays and their order.  Gathering together over food is always a good thing, but what drives it home for me is that we normally do it around people. These people may include relatives, friends or even acquaintances.  More often than not we feel recharged and refreshed after spending time with each other.

Then, we return to work and that level of enjoyment and intimacy dissipates so fast that it can’t even be tracked.  We are surrounded with another group of people who drive home the mantra of “get things done.”  Don’t get me wrong, productivity is essential for the success of businesses and our own personal careers.  But getting things “done” almost completely eliminates the interaction of the people around us.  We skim across the surface of everyone picking the one or two items needed to move our work and projects forward because spending time with them personally would be viewed as inefficient.

Don’t believe me?  There are entire books and conferences dedicated to this.  People flock to these forums and love the “take aways” they get from power points, flash drives or tool kits.  However, the best resources they could have found were sitting next to them.  Those resources were ignored because they are people we don’t know, and we could be seen as too forward if we reached out to get to know them.

I happened to check an e-mail while I was off for the holiday from a friend and it crushed me.  She wrote me to tell me that she was thankful for me because I had made an introduction to her back in 2009 that literally saved her business as a sole proprietor.  I couldn’t believe it.  She went on to say that this connection has continued to lead to business opportunities to this day.  She didn’t want to miss the opportunity to say thanks.

It led to me to think this . . .  Who we affect is far more important than what we get done !!

In HR we have the chance, and the obligation, to positively affect all of the people around us and not just wait for the holidays to recharge ourselves around those we know better.  We can dive past the façade of surfaces and spend time to get to know the people who make work come to life and drive productivity.  It’s time for us to remember that work happens through people and not in spite of them.

ThankfulSo, I’d like to start something that I hope you take forward.

I’m thankful for YOU !!  I’m thankful that you’ve chosen to read this blog.  I’m hopeful that we are connected, and if we aren’t, I’m hopeful that we can become connected.

I’m thankful that you’re involved in some way with HR and people.  It is a challenging field, but it is also one of the most fulfilling careers a person could ever pursue.  You have the chance to interact with humans everyday, and you never know how your interaction may deeply impact them.

Here’s how to move this forward.  Be like my friend and thank someone who has impacted you.  Don’t wait for the perfect moment or a particular setting.  Reach out today with a note, a phone call, an e-mail, or something you know will matter to them.  Watch what happens.  See how you will be recharged each and every day.  You won’t have to wait for that next holiday.  You’ll see that being Thankful is a fantastic state to be in all the time !!

Sorry, We’re Closed !!

This weekend, my son took a giant step of leadership and initiative !!  He began work on his Eagle Scout project.  He started building a shed to replace a POD for the Animal Friends Humane Society who currently has to pay to have the POD for food storage for the animals.  The project is massive, but he is more than able to take it on.  Have to say the “proud father” tears often swell to the surface when I think about how amazing he is !!

One of the keys in doing a project like this is that you get first-hand experience on when things go well . . . and when they don’t.

Josh had ordered the shed from one of those big box hardware stores and everything was scheduled to be delivered on site (a mile from the store) the Friday before his first workday on Saturday.  We stopped by the store on Friday night just to make sure that everything was ready.  The shipping supervisor looked a bit confused and dumbfounded when Josh asked about the delivery.  It looked like it was “supposed” to have happened, but another employee hadn’t entered the firm delivery in the computer, so it didn’t exist.

Another key to an Eagle Scout project is to adapt.

Josh asked if we could compromise and get a rental truck and get some of the material to make the shed’s base and floor for the next day because people were scheduled to come and help.  The store agreed and waived the rental fee for the truck and apologized for the mistake and confirmed that they could deliver the remainder of the materials on Sunday.  Josh added an extra work day, but still moved forward.

On Saturday morning, we arrived to get the rental truck and pick up the material for the floor.  We were directed over to the lumber yard, and we were the first customers for the day.  A young man in a Security shirt came out of the guard shack and the following happened.

Guard:  May I help you?

Steve:  We were told to come back to the lumber yard to get material.

Guard:  Sorry, we’re closed.

Steve:  What ?! (confused and frustrated from the original delivery being mixed up)  They told us to come back here.

Guard:  Sorry, they must have told you the wrong information.  We’re closed.

Steve:  But we need to get the lumber.  You don’t understand, we have people . . .

Guard:  It’s okay.  I’m just messing with you.  We’re open.  Come on in.  Can I help you get to where you need to go?

We busted out laughing !!  The young man saw that we were in a hurry and had to “get things done.”  He noticed we were missing out on starting the day getting some material to do some project.  We weren’t there to enjoy the experience and he was supposed to just do his job.

The thing is – he was doing his job better than anyone could have imagined !!  He chose to take a rather mundane job (checking people in and out of a lumber yard ALL DAY) and make it enjoyable.  I loved his creativity and told him that I appreciated his approach.

Love Your WorkI’m sure if typical supervisors had seen this interaction, the guard would have been coached if not disciplined or terminated.  We want people to WORK and be productive.  We have spent years beating the passion out of people, and yet we expect them to bring the workplace to life through their jobs.

I had to come back later Saturday morning, because you always have at least 3 return trips to hardware stores during a project, and I saw the guard again.  I couldn’t resist, so I said, “I see you’re open now !!”  He didn’t miss a beat, “Yeah, you just caught us because we were closed ten minutes ago.”

HR needs to take note to give employees permission to love what they do and who they interact with.  Work would be a better place if we looked at how to make people smile in what we do regardless of our role.

That young man made our day !!  I’m sure glad he was “closed” !!