It’s common for people to spend some time at the end/beginning of every year to self reflect and set goals. About 56% of New Years Resolutions are associated with improving health/exercise/eating habits, but professional related resolutions hardly ever make the list. I’m not big on new years resolutions, but I can see where people see them as an opportunity to start with a clean slate and be better than they were last year. With that in mind, why wouldn’t we share our career resolutions as much as our health resolutions? My career is a big part of my life, so what can I commit to changing this year that will make HR better? It sounds like a simple question, but it really made me think on what I currently do as an HR professional, what my co-workers do, and what my HR buddies outside of my company do. Of course there are probably policies and procedures that could be addressed here, the job scope of HR, or being able to buy shiny new expensive gadgets to make us better at HR, but I couldn’t choose any of those things. The one thing I could come up with repeatedly that I think needs A LOT of improvement is pride and perspective.
Sometimes I think HR professionals forgot what it’s like to “be an employee.” Most of us (before we began working in HR) didn’t walk into the workplace knowing exactly what HRs purpose was or even where to find them, but we tend to act like everyone should know who we are, what we do, and include us in everything. We sure do get our feelings hurt when we aren’t included in everything, right? We won’t hesitate to chide that we wouldn’t have to clean this mess or that mess up if the employees/managers/executives would’ve just come to us first. We instinctively throw road blocks up when people don’t work the process exactly the way we want them to. Oh, you’ve never done that? Good for you!
Also, we often get together with our HR pals & peers and gripe and moan about the “stupid” things that we dealt with throughout the day, the crazy scenarios no would ever believe, who does the most with the least tools, and who has the hardest time getting their company to listen to them. I suppose we do that mostly because misery loves company and because we are all trying to out-do each others stories (I mean, how many times have you heard an HR professional say they were going to write a book when they retire? The theme of the stories are always the same…), but maybe we could change our course and celebrate the good things that happen everyday instead. We all need someone to vent to, but let me ask you this: Are you complaining about your job more than you are enjoying it? I think a lot of times we get our perspective of things we deal with wrong because we forget that HR is really nothing more than a servant leadership role and to expect more/less than that is misguided (in my opinion).
Too often an HR professional is annoyed with an employee that didn’t read the entire 3 page memo about open enrollment, or the employee who told us about a new baby 31 days after the baby was born, or the manager that wants to let an employee go with no documentation . I try to remind myself every day that people need our help and if they didn’t we wouldn’t have the jobs that we do. Yes it’s aggravating when people don’t read the information that we send out or don’t pay attention to deadlines, but they are people just like we are people. They have things that they do outside of their daily job, they volunteer and have families just like we do. They go on vacations, they have sick children, and as many errands as we do. They understand some things better than other things, just like we do. I wouldn’t expect an engineer to talk about how stupid I am because I couldn’t solve an engineering problem, so why would we call employees stupid for not knowing how to solve a benefits problem?
To make HR better I will strive to be unoffendable and be a willing servant leader. I will communicate my needs clearer and solve problems joyfully. I will drown the negative with positive and enjoy what I do. And finally, I will ask you to do the same.