What’s HR Like ??

This past week I had a very cool experience !! One of our Team Members is going to college and wants to go into Human Resources. He asked if it would be okay to meet. I jumped at the chance !!

Abstract technology background. Cog wheel theme
Abstract technology background. Cog wheel theme

I went out to the restaurant where he works and we sat in a booth after we made the obligatory introductions. As we settled in, I started, “So, how can I help you?” Out of the blue he gives the most massive question possible, “So, what’s HR like ??”

I’ll be honest. I was speechless for a moment. It wasn’t the question I expected. He didn’t want to hear the oddyssey of my career or honestly anything about me. It was incredibly refreshing !! He wanted to learn about the field, the profession, the ins and out as well as the ups and downs. By the way, he’s a millenial.

According to the myriad of HR writing that exists in the blogosphere, this young man wasn’t living up to his stereotype. He was engaged, interested and curious. He wasn’t a slacker who was looking for something inane like work/life balance or how to make a gigantic salary while being a lone wolf who doesn’t know how to communicate because he grew up with technology. Have I covered them all yet ?? But, I digress.

It was the best hour of my week. A chance to sit down and talk about how and why you can be passionate about HR and thriving in it as a career. So, what did I tell him HR was like ?? Here are a few of the key things I shared.

HR is Essential !!

This may seem a bit crass as an assumption, but it is a deep held belief by me. If an organization has humans, it has a need for human resources. I don’t mean to belittle this at all because too often organizations think they can just wing it and hope that nothing horrid happens without HR. I understand that not all companies can have a full-time HR pro, but you can get HR resources that can assist you.

This reality of being essential gives HR a bright, tangible and valued future. This isn’t about “how” HR is practiced. It is, however, the anchor for our existence !!

HR is NEVER the same !!

I explained that if you want to get into a field that is predictable, mundane and full of absolutes then don’t go into HR. I did warn him that there are HR pros, and companies, who limit the scope, involvement and impact of what HR does for them. It saddens me that this exists, but I wanted him to have a holistic view of what he was pursuing. I think the constant ebb and flow of variety in HR is what sets it apart from most professions. You have to remember that you’re whole professional existence is surrounded by people. And people are NEVER the same . . . ever !! I explained that this can either be exhausting and frustrating or it can be energizing and exhilarating !! I think he knows which set I follow.

HR is a great career choice !!

I told him that this factor was hard to find and I appreciated that he was checking out the field by talking to HR pros. You see, I wasn’t the first person he talked to. I was the third. I was geeked when he said, “I haven’t heard this positive outlook about HR yet.” I told him I wasn’t surprised. I told him that I have a big, hairy audacious goal for ALL HR pros to be connected as well as passionate about who we are and what we do. He liked that and said THAT is what he was looking for in a career.

We closed the meeting by getting him connected on Linked In, adding him to my global HR network (The HR Net) and one more critical thing . . .

I told him that I’d be available for him whenever he needed me and for whatever other insight and advice he needed as he entered the world of HR.

You see, I didn’t want him to see a stereotype of a generation either. I’m geeked for his present and his future !! And to think it all started with one question. If someone had to ask you, what would you say ?? What’s HR like for you ??

I hope it’s full of hope, positivity and passion because then you’ll understand how incredible Human Resources really is !!

Do The Work !!

Do you enjoy meeting people personally and professionally ?? Does there have to be a compelling reason to do so ?? Is the only reason you meet people is because you read a blog post that tells you to ??

I’ve been thinking about this lately because I thrive on meeting new people. That’s a fact. Whenever I go to a new environment, I reach out to meet people. I really want to get to know them, know who they are and something unique about them. I understand that this isn’t the norm and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have the capacity to take in more and more folks.

You see, I’m not a collector. Many people who network are because they have some ulterior motive that is intended to result in a sale of their services or products. When this occurs, people are only scratching the surface of truly connecting and yet people continue to do this. Just last week a person who was a guest at the restaurant I work at came up to me and said, “You look friendly and are always smiling. Here’s my card, I represent . . . .” I was floored. No name. No introduction. Just a chance to whip out the 30-second sales pitch because this is how you think it’s effective to meet other people. I threw his card away.

Let me share an example of how networking has a lasting effect – as it should !! My best friend, Fred, calls me every week. Every. Week. He checks in to see how things are with me personally and professionally. He also just stepped up to run a monthly networking group, GETDOT Cincinnati, as their new President. By the way, he’s officially “retired.” Meeting new people really shouldn’t matter to him anymore should it ??

Fred is not only a dear friend, but he’s a great mentor and example that you need to have relationships with those in your network. That is the key !! If you can’t tell others about a connection past a rectangular piece of paper, then they really aren’t a connection at all. Remember, if you’re too busy to make time for others, don’t have them in your network and don’t be in theirs. That may sound a bit harsh, but great connections encourage each other. They don’t use each other.

Do The WorkThe key to networking is to Do the Work !! I think that having a viable network and being an effective networker should be a mandatory skill for all business people and especially for those in HR. Let me be clear – this is a business skill and not a job hunting skill. We’ve lost sight that having a set of “go to” people makes you a stronger professional in your role both within your company and in your industry.

The challenge I see is that HR people are hesitant to reach out and meet others in our field. I don’t understand this because I’ve only seen it benefit me personally and allow me to have access to incredible folks !! This isn’t a factor of being extroverted or introverted. It is a factor that we don’t see the value of taking the time to connect with others.

This week, I’d like you to start doing the work of connecting. Make a commitment to connect with one or two new people in HR. Send them a Linked In request with a personalized invitation. Be active on Twitter and connect with other HR folks and share HR blogs you read with others. Go to events and find a few people you don’t know and take the time to intentionally meet them.

Be good with adding just a few people to your network each week. If you have a larger capacity, meet more people. However, commit to making sure they are connections and not collections. You’ll be a stronger HR pro when you have others around you that can encourage you and share their experiences and knowledge.

I hope you understand that I know that this makes a difference. It will be some of the most meaningful work you’ll ever do !!