I am an avowed HR Nerd. This is something I embrace and have since my high school days. Growing up I collected comic books (unfortunately my mother thought they took up “too much space” . . .) and I loved them. I couldn’t get enough of the action, the heroes, the villains and the stories. I’ve kept that hobby going with my son. He has a collection of comic books too, and we’ve been able to share something else – comic book movies !!
Whenever a Marvel or DC movie comes out, we are at the theater on opening night. This past summer we absolutely had to see Guardians of the Galaxy !! It was phenomenal from start to finish (and my amazing wife bought the DVD for my birthday). If you don’t even finish this post, you should make sure you see this movie !!
My favorite character by far is Groot. You’ve never seen anything like him because he’s like a giant tree and the only thing he can say is, “I am Groot.” It doesn’t matter what the situation is he doesn’t have any other vocabulary. In the movie he is the most empathetic individual in the group. He is caring, heroic and even sacrificial in his friendship. In one scene he protects the other Guardians and when his partner protests, he says, “WE are Groot.”
And this ties into HR how ??
I went to an Ohio SHRM State Council meeting at the Capitol Square Sheraton in Columbus, Ohio recently. When I arrived in our meeting room, there was George one of the Sheraton staff. He turned quickly and said, “Steve !!” and hugged me. “I was hoping you’d be here. Where were you last time?” I explained that I just couldn’t make it and was sorry to miss seeing him. George left the room to tell Theresa and Mike that I had made the meeting. Theresa shared with me that at the end of December she was named Employee of the Month for the hotel and Employee of the Year for the chain regionally. We hugged. Mike came out on a break to tell me about his family and we hugged. The meeting went well and then Sammy came to the room after we had finished for the day just to say, “Hi !!” and said he couldn’t miss seeing me. We hugged.
This is humbling in ways that are hard to express. These great folks aren’t my employees and I see them at most three times a year for less than a few minutes each time. It is always great to see the staff at the Sheraton because we are Groot !!
Too often we get caught up in HR focusing on the people who are only within arm’s reach. Many HR practitioners I know struggle to make connections with people they work with, and that is tough. I understand that it’s hard to encourage you to take in people who are outside your day-to-day environment, but I’d like to have you consider something different.
We can “practice” HR wherever we are and whoever we interact with. This is because people are the basis for who we are and what we do. You don’t have to limit yourself to the systems that you feel you control. People all around you desperately want someone to connect with them, notice them and understand that what they do has value.
You can be that person who reaches out. You can be the person who takes a few minutes to make sure someone isn’t missed. You can be the person who people miss if they expected you to be there. You can be the hug someone melts in because it came at the right time.
This week, take a look and see who is around you. Take the step to be different and reach out. I know this works and I know you have it in you because in HR – We are Groot !!