Resurrecting HR !!

HR is dead.

(At least that’s what people want you to believe.)

It’s staggering to me that there continues to be this on-going conversation that is desperately trying to kill Human Resources. Blogs, magazine articles, conference presentations, etc. It’s happening throughout the profession, and very few people are standing up against it !! Why in the world should we allow people to degrade, belittle and tear down our profession? It’s especially disheartening when some of those voices are coming from inside HR itself !!

I believe that there should always be discourse, dialogue and critique. If that doesn’t occur, then change doesn’t happen. However, trying to move things forward through tearing it down has never worked. Never.

The reason for this post, and the title, is that I truly believe there is a problem and HR does need resurrecting !! Also, with it being Easter, how could you not use this title ??

The problem, as I see it, is that we are working so hard to maintain the status quo, that we’ve lost the urge to stretch and dream to see what HR could be. We feel that keeping things comfortable and in line will make our role effective and needed in organizations. It helps to have some of that, but not as your primary approach. It’s interesting that we encourage others not to settle, but we don’t see that this advice also applies to us.

Still AliveI’d like you to consider some ideas to make HR alive for you personally and collectively as a profession !!

Stand up and be heard !!

When you hear someone taking a shot at HR and what you do, respond. If that happens in your organization, push back. Bring solutions that elevate the human element of your employees and pull the company together. Quit making efforts to manage to the exception and recognize the whole. If you see negative comments online, respond. Being frustrated behind a screen will not bring about change. Comment, share and respond !!

Get connected and involved in the profession !!

HR is a field of isolation by design because we deal with the difficult side of employee issues. They have to have a safe haven they can work with and come to. After awhile, that isolation builds up and you have nowhere to go. (or so you think). The best thing about being in HR is the other people who practice it !! Having a viable, interactive and living network of HR professionals is essential if you want to thrive in this field. There was never anything written in your job description that stated that you had to quietly suffer.

Reach out. Connect with others who are near you. Make social media the communication vehicle it was intended to be and find out that there are thousands of  people who do what you do, and they’re looking to connect as well !! Go to conferences to meet people. Join organizations like SHRM nationally as well as locally. Do it because it makes you a better HR pro, not just because you were told to do it !!

Believe in what you do !!

HR is alive and well. It’s not just a blog post or a rallying cry. It’s a fact. Every day senior management is seeking HR to step up and make sure that organizations are more human. It’s a natural instinct in most of us and the time for suppressing it is past. It’s not time for us to be wildly optimistic, but it is time for us to say – How can we make the workplace better?

There is value in what you do my peers and friends. Inherent, tangible value. As you head back to work this week shake off the cobwebs, drudgery and negativity which can swallow the best of us. It’s time to resurrect HR !! Will you join me ??


20 thoughts on “Resurrecting HR !!”

  1. Great article, Steve, as always. Agree that HR needs to stand up and be recognized. There is no greater asset to an organization than it’s people. And culture trumps strategy every time in business. If your interested in creating a more “human” workplace, check out the Workhuman event: . It’s a unique event created to galvanize organizations around the ideals you’re talking about.

  2. After nearly 40 years in HR, I can tell you that we do make a difference. Particularly if we get out of our offices, learn what the business does and the challenges that managers and employees are having.

    We shouldn’t have to wait until we read a book or article, attend a conference, etc. to do things that will help the company and employees in being better at what they do. Get engaged and help your employees get engaged.

    Don’t get me wrong, reading and conferences are great sources to stay on top of things, but action and helping build a better culture are critical.

    Don’t get sucked into believing that what we do isn’t important and our roles should be reduced to pushing paper and being a “cop”.

    As Mr. Browne challenges get out there and speak up!

  3. Our role is essential, our impact is crucial, our actions are vital to the culture and function of the people that comprise the workforce we serve. I agree: our challenge is to stay relevant and proactive, and to feed our passion to be on top of the game. We should reach out, encourage and inspire each other. Share, support–succeed!

  4. Steve, as a leadership coach, I agree completely. HR needs to get over feeling threatened by outside coaches and internal documentation responsibilities and embrace a new level of strategic possibilities.

  5. Great things are happening in our profession. Thanks, Steve, for keeping the passion going!

  6. I agree! We need to stop playing into the hype that “HR is dead” or we need to “blow it up” and then rebuild. HR has been able to transform from “Personnel Department”, which has strictly administrative duties, to “Strategic Partner”, which has a seat at the “Adult Table of Business”. If there are areas that need to be transformed, we can do that without killing it entirely. We need more HR people like you Steve Browne who are passionate about the field and can see the big picture!

  7. As HR professionals, we are responsible for ensuring that our department understands how to show value in financial terms. You can’t get a “seat at the table” if you don’t understand how to get there or why you should.

  8. Steve, thanks, a great reminder. Would add that many HR folks need to get out there and talk with their managers and executives to show them how HR can help them, to coach them in dealing with people issues, to learn what each one needs and expects from HR, and to build internal champions.

  9. Great post Steve. HR is an exciting profession and I’d love to see more HR professionals view it that way. Instead of complaining about not being taken seriously or having a seat at the proverbial table, do something about it. Be a true business partner. And never apologize for your profession!

  10. Another great post Steve! I firmly believe that if you don’t make connections, you will isolate yourself and end up feeling the negativity all over !!

  11. Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Steve! As someone who met you and so many other amazing, progressive HR professionals by engaging with the wider HR community, your post serves as a great reminder to us all. Many of us are either the lone HR professional in our company or part of a small team; getting out there and connecting with other HR professionals makes it so that we never really have to “go it alone”.

  12. Great article and a great reminder of what we as HR professionals should be doing. There are too many instances of HR doing the “same ole thing” and maintaining the status quo. We should be adding value and solving problems.

  13. Steve, thank you for sharing this. HR is truly a field in which we can help make a positive impact on our employees lives! If you strive to live that motto, all will be resurrected. Make sense?

  14. I am fortunate to work on a team that is made up of Boomer, Gen X, and Millenial. Our VP of HR has created a team and empowered growth where we can each excel in our individual areas of strength but together as a whole make our HR team valuable. Our expertise covers everything from Leadership & Navigation, Business Acumen, Critical Evaluation, Ethical Practice, Relationship Management, Communication, Consultation and Global & Cultural Effectiveness

    Might sound corny, but is very true – together we make a solid team that has earned a strong positive reputation and and impact on our organization as a whole. P.S. I am very proud to be a part of our team. My SHRM training has completely helped me be relevant and strengthened my HR skill expertise.

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