Remember the Who !! #SHRM16

I’m catching up on rest after an exhilarating SHRM Annual Conference. It was truly wonderful the entire time. This year I experienced a new view of the conference as a member of the SHRM Board of Directors.

I have hesitated to write about being on the Board because stating it drums up different emotions for people. Let me give you my perspective about the role. I am truly honored and humbled to be on the Board of Directors for the profession and the membership association that I love. These aren’t hollow words, they’re a fact !!

I get to wear a cool badge that denotes my new role and it gives you the ability to have access throughout all of the venues. I cherished this and didn’t take it for granted because it gave me the ability to connect with more people.

It started on my first day when I met one of the hotel staff who was helping with breakfast, Ahmed. He greeted me with a smile and was kind enough to be up and in uniform at the crack of dawn to serve me and others a meal. I introduced myself and thanked him for being there. Ahmed used the same “trick” I did and read my name tag and said, “Good morning, Steve.”

Now, many people reading this may think that he’s just doing his job like he should. We’d overlook him more often than not to rush to get a plate of bacon and eggs. Our impending meeting, and the others at the meeting, would get more of our attention.

Why did this small introduction matter? On Monday, at a luncheon during the conference, guess who was serving the group? Ahmed. He saw me first this time and said, “Good afternoon, Steve. How is your day going?” I said, “It’s great Ahmed, thanks for asking !!”

I used my badge to walk into all of the different areas all week to thank volunteers, SHRM staff, hotel staff, convention center security and the transportation crossing guards. This isn’t to seek a pat on the back. Trust me. I wanted to be intentional to make sure these people weren’t overlooked. Why ??

These folks are the “who” that keep things going.

There were over 15,000 attendees as well as countless vendors who worked the Exhibit Hall. Without the “who” this event would never have occurred. Mike Rowe exemplified this during his keynote address and it has been his focus for much of his career. He noted how important it was to never overlook people at work because everyone matters.

Everyone MattersThis is key in our organizations as well. We are enveloped in such a rush of distractions that we walk past the “who” that help our companies succeed every day. HR has the ability to break this pattern because we have the ability and the latitude to make acknowledging others part of our job daily. Honestly, it needs to be in the fabric of our Human Resources DNA. It can’t be something that we ignore or hope that others will do.

People want to be acknowledged for what they do. This is more basic than appreciation. That is key and important, but we need to step back and acknowledge folks. When you take this approach, all of your systems and procedure look different and positive.

People want to do good work. This week step back and thank others. You’ll see that this will change your organization for the better !! Remember the “who” around you every day.

 

Friends.

After a great Easter weekend, it’s easy to come back to work because I had the chance to take in something that I value more and more.  I hope that I have always valued what I experienced this weekend, but I would have to say that sometimes I take it for granted as well.  What am I talking about?  Friends.

This weekend for our Easter gathering, my family got together with two of our closest families. Our children are now all young adults and we have been together since the birth/infancy of each of the seven kids.  We aren’t related biologically, but these two families are as close and as dear as any family member could be.  There was nothing unique, magical, or overwhelming when we got together.  We went to church, shared an incredible lunch where everyone pitched in, played outside, laughed, shared stories and memories and ended the day with warm hugs as everyone went on their way.

So, what in the world does this have to do with HR ?? Absolutely everything !!

You see, many HR pros continue to struggle and practice in what they do because they try to gut it out on their own.  You can be somewhat effective in this approach, but the key word is “somewhat.”  Now, I’m not talking about having a “network” or your own personal “Board of Directors.”  Those are important, but this is something more basic and essential.

Because HR folks are in a field that has more challenges than rewards at times, you need friends.  Friends are people you can open up with and not fear about being judged.  Friends are people you can laugh with, share with and encourage through all types of situations.  Friends may have answers for you as a resource.  At other times, they might just be present for you when you feel no one else will.

For far too long, HR has been taught that you aren’t supposed to develop relationships at work.  You’re supposed to keep an arm’s length distance from others  in the event that you have to be the negative voice sometime in the future.  This stance has put a dark mark on our profession and the people who practice it.  How in the world can we say we’re in a field to care for people, but we’re not allowed to be close to them?  It seems way too out of kilter for me.

FriendsI do my best to develop as many friendships as possible as I can with other HR folks.  I want to make sure that people have at least one person who wants to know who they are, what’s going on in their lives, how things are in their corner of the HR universe, and what they love to do.  I usually call folks every night on my long commute home just to check in and see how they’re doing.  I don’t schedule it or make it formal.  I just call them to let them know that I’m there for them and can’t wait to hear what’s happening in their lives.

When I go to conferences, I do the same thing.  I want to meet and get to know as many humans in HR as I can.  We need friends.  It’s something that keeps us grounded.  It’s something that needs to be the norm and not the exception.

So, this week as you head back into work, reach out to someone else in HR.  Check in to see how they’re doing.  Be a friend.  Trust me, you’ll love every moment !!

Image courtesy of Oozie