No apologies

It’s time for HR people to quit complaining about knowing each other. Instead, we should be doing all we can to get to know our connections as real people.

Disclaimer – (all good HR people know how to do these . . .)

The following post may seem like name dropping, but it’s not.  It’s about the value of getting to know the people we choose to follow and be connected to.  If that makes me a “clique” former – so be it !!

Now for the post:

Last week the coolest thing happened !!  I received a DM on Twitter from Bryan Wempen asking me what my day looked like. I was a little confused by this since Bryan is normally in Tulsa, OK and I’m in Cincinnati, OH, but I responded.  Turns out he was in town and wanted to see if we could get together. To say I was GEEKED would not give this enough credence !!

Bryan is someone I met through Twitter and also through his incredible blog radio show, Drive Thru HR, which he co-hosts daily with another friend – William Tincup.  We went to our Boudinot location for LaRosa’s and had some great conversations over great pizza !!  I learned more about him, his family and great stories about career, college, etc.

You see, Bryan was inadvertently helping me reach a goal I set for myself for 2011.  I want to meet as many of the people I’m connected to as possible in real life !!  I think this really matters.

I think HR people in the Social Media space are struggling with “what’s next?” when it comes to where things are going.  The piece that’s missing is that we long to really know each other.

Coming up in the next few months, I get to go to the Northern Ohio HR Conference to present and catch up with Joe Gerstandt as well as 100’s of other attendees who may/may not be involved with Social Media.  Also, in April I’m going to HRevolution 2011 and couldn’t be excited enough to meet others that I read about, learn from and communicate with.

There’s more to come in 2011 including the Ohio HR Conference in September where I’m fortunate enough to be this year’s chair !!

I feel that too many HR people keep their heads down when they go to great events like these and worry too much about HRCI credits, where to sit in the room and if the person sitting next to you is going to “bother” you by tweeting instead of listening to the speaker.

Time for this to stop !!

The GREATEST resource at these events are the people sitting next to you, the people in the exhibitor halls and the people milling through the halls !!

So, no apologies.  I plan to meet ALL of you – and I can’t wait !!

What Do You Expect ??

This post asks HR what their focus is when it comes to their employees. Do they dread seeing them, or do they think they’re amazing?

When you think of your employees, what comes to mind?

Do you have positive thoughts?  Are you fondly reminded of how amazing the folks are at your company ??

What do you expect?  Seriously.  Have you taken the time to reflect on how your focus is as an HR practitioner when you go into work each day?  Are you looking forward to working with the people around you, or do you dread it?

If I asked you this in person, I’m sure I’d hear a positive response because you’d feel a little awkward because we’re only supposed to talk about surface level things to keep things within a social norm.  It may be the way you truly feel, and I hope it is.

However, when I keep my ear to the ground and listen to other HR pros, I hear more negative things than positive things.  I hear people grousing about the difficult person who did this, or the person who takes ALL  of my time, etc.

Don’t you think your employees see that in you?  Don’t you think that they’ve come to expect HR to be the department who brings the bad news?  Not very encouraging is it?

I think that we’ve made the rock prophet Don Henley’s words come true from his vintage song “Dirty Laundry” on his debut album I Can’t Stand Still.

“Dirty little secrets
     Dirty little lies 
 We got our dirty little fingers in everybody’s pie 
     We love to cut you down to size
We love dirty laundry”

I know that sounds harsh, but when I listen to HR people they tend to talk about the 10% of people who cause them the most problems instead of focusing on the 90% of people who are GREAT !!

I love HR Horror Stories as much as the next person, and I could add my share of them – believe me.  However, it’s time to change the tide.

People will see HR as a positive force in organizations when, and only when, HR is positive itself !!

So, what do you expect ?? Let me know.

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Take a Stand !!

This post encourages HR to take aspects of Martin Luther King, Jr. and apply his efforts to their work today in organizations.

This past weekend I traveled to the heart of Amish country in Ohio to beautiful Berlin, Ohio for the Classic in the Country  basketball tournament.  It was a full weekend of great high school varsity girls basketball !!

The “unique” aspect of this tournament vs. others is that when the girls come out to the court before the game begins something other than the National Anthem occurred.  (Fear not, they play the Anthem at the beginning of each day.)  The announcer asked everyone to stand and then they played a quote from a Martin Luther King, Jr. speech.  It was incredibly moving – and relevant !!

You see, my daughter only knows of Dr. King from History class or a textbook.  Now that we are recognizing the 25th anniversary of the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, it made me reflective as well because Dr. King did things that we in HR should be doing as well . . .

Recognize Injustice !!

Too often HR sees things that happen in companies and seeks the middle ground vs. addressing things directly.  You see, if you ask Management, HR represents them.  If you ask employees, they’d say HR represents . . . Management.  The fact is that we represent all employees and we are obligated to look at all people practices that aren’t in the best interest of employees and get rid of them.  I’m not talking about obvious egregious or illegal behavior.  That’s a no-brainer.  I’m talking about policies (that we often generate) that do no good to the company.  Honestly, most of our polices are created to address a few people’s poor behavior that we should be addressing directly any way !!

Take a stand !!

Do you like being ambiguous and wishy-washy?  I don’t and I hope that as HR practitioners, you don’t either.  It’s tough to take stands on things but companies expect us to make decisions and not practice conflict avoidance.  People are tough.  There’s no doubt about that.  However, if you learn how to frame your approach and deal intentionally with people, you’ll be amazed at how effective an HR professional you’ll be !!

Be the one person !!

Too often people are waiting for someone to act.  When HR is passive bad things happen more often than not and you become the person who’s always “putting out fires.”  We desparately want someone to take action.

That needs to be YOU !!

Dr. King took action when it wasn’t popular, when it involved incredible risk, and it represented those who weren’t in power.  I want to be that kind of HR person all the time.

How about you ???

Image courtesy of WriteSpirit.net