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

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