I recently had a chat with my baby brother about the company that I currently work for. I was telling him about all the cool stuff that happens where I work now: some of the projects we’ve worked on in the past and some of the areas that we are working in now.. He’s getting excited, my baby sister is sitting there looking at us like we are both idiots because she had heard of almost nothing I mentioned… the one thing she did know she blurted out “that sounds like Call of Duty!”.. it was a brief moment, but I was kind of proud LOL. So my brother is stoked about all this cool stuff and he looks at me plain as day and says “What kind of cool stuff do you get to do there?”…. [crickets]… I have to blink a couple of times and give him a “say whaaaaaat” because I’m assuming he knows what I do for a living… I mean I only talk about it ALL the time (Hey- baby brother, don’t you read my blog? sheesh!). When I realize he is serious and wants an answer I give it to him “I get to find the people we hire to work on all these cool projects”. BOOM! [crickets] He just doesn’t get it. So I try again… “I solve problems that are different from the problems our engineers solve…” NAILED IT! Psyche.. still doesn’t care.. he’s only interested in the cool tech-y engineering type stuff. Hmm. You may be an engineer if…?
Anyway! Isn’t this part of our problem? We can’t express our value? We can’t convince non HR folks why we rock. 😦 Well it is for some of us. And that’s okay, because for those of “us” that it is a problem for, I have faith in you. You can turn it around. You can step up and find awesome people and help grow the awesome people you already have and do some really legit team building and coaching and activities and so on and so forth and be the best HR department you can be! But no one is going to do it for you, so get up off your tush and go do it. And if you don’t want to get up off your tush and go do it I’m going to have to ask you kindly to leave the HR profession; we don’t need anyone bringing us down and we don’t want anyone giving the profession a bad name.. kthanks! 🙂 #muchlove
Completely for fun here’s a rumor I had to deal with at the restaurant I told y’all I was waiting tables for: “She’s a spy from corporate”… Corporate sent me, little ol Kristina, into a restaurant in little ol Decatur, AL to spy on them? Whoooooaaaaa. As the new kid I found it humourous. As an employee trying to do a job I found it frustrating. As an HR professional I found it heartbreaking. I immediately wondered what kind of situation I could’ve signed up for. Are things bad enough in your organization that people assume the new kid on the block is a spy? to clean things up? To shut things down? To rat people out? To change things, for the better or even the worse? What kind of culture have you shaped that has people fearing a corporate mole when someone poses a solution to a problem? I can’t face day-to-day situations and turn my “HR” off, no matter where I am. It may be a curse… I don’t know, lol.
It has me thinking about culture and where us HR professionals get it wrong… We tend to be in situations where we wait until everything about our culture goes wrong before we find a solution. We are very much reactive in defining culture and we should take a look at our goals there again and see how effective that is. Now I know we don’t all have an opportunity to build culture from the ground up, but I see a lot of situations where an HR pro comes in and identifies the need to change the culture, but waits for something to blow up to get buy in on the idea. Don’t do that! You take responsibility and start making things happen… pitch it better to the higher-ups, make sure the higher-ups believe it and support it. Be an example. If you know me you know that I’m an advocate for the 5 love languages and the theme in the book is really based around making a difference starting with yourself… If you continue to throw tantrums no one takes you seriously, if you start to implement what you know it is going to take and behave the appropriate way people will see the results. That is taking on a huge role, but the ROI is worth it. I can tell you this though, if you wait until half your staff believes that there is a spy from corporate to clean up the culture… you’re in big trouble.