The world around us seems to be doing its best to rip itself apart. We are bombarded with examples of social unrest, protests, and a political climate that is far from friendly. It’s hard to not have these, as well as many other, situations fill every corner of media that is present. Those are only descriptors of the U.S. and don’t take into account the many challenging situations happening globally.

It saddens me that in any of this that we have lost the ability to discuss and work through items. We get upset when someone states their opinion or takes an action for what they believe. Everything is put in terms of extremes and that makes us uncomfortable. It feels like you can’t be for something without alienating someone who doesn’t share that belief.

In all of this we’ve lost sight of how this affects the workplace. When people are uncertain about the environment around them, it seeps into all areas of life including work. As HR practitioners, we do our best to drive uncertainty out of the workplace. We go so far as to enact policies that try to limit discourse, differences of opinion and diversity. We want people and things to be the same. Our goal is conformity and that is something that hurts not helps.

Groupthink, singular lines of thought or approach and limiting expression just add to the tensions that surround us. Does it make sense to you that we spend so much of our time and effort in organizations striving for uniformity and control when we could, and should, be doing so much more?

For decades we have yearned for a “seat at the table.” Think of that. We have worked and worked as well as compromised ourselves to act and look like those in senior roles to gain “presence.” It’s not who we are and it’s not what organizations need. We must take a much more intentional approach and . . .


take-a-standHR has an obligation to lead. We have to shed the mantle of striving for normalcy. We need to those that stand for people allow them to express their beliefs and then work with them in the workplace.

In order for us to take this new approach, we must take a stand personally as well as a profession. This has been missing for too long and it has limited us in our effectiveness. There’s no reason why HR can’t lead daily in all that they do. Remember – we work with, and for, people. We can do this from an encouraging and positive perspective. This doesn’t mean that we should ignore or downplay the upheaval around us. In fact, it forces us to jump into the midst of conversations or even generate them ourselves.

People are talking. They will continue to talk and share the thoughts, ideas and concerns. We have the ability to be the conduit for those conversations to be productive, provocative, civil and meaningful. The days for sitting have past.

It’s time for us to take a stand !!

5 thoughts on “Stand.”

  1. Love it , thanks for the gentle reminder of an HR purpose Stand . . . like I heard a phrase “you’re the keeper of the culture “

  2. WOW! Steve ~ you said it PERFECTLY! Thank you thank you thank you! STAND for your convictions ~ STAND for dialog ~ STAND for diversity….of thought, of people ~ while expecting that from everyone and a respect for all! I’m sharing and thank you again! I am this HR professional!

  3. This, I hope, resonated with many. Special THANK YOU for the throwback REM. The dancing made me smile on a MONDAY, no less!

  4. Well done Steve. I think fear of losing our “standing” with others is a prime driver. It is so much easier to meet the norms expected by others. But not satisfying! Thanks for challenging us.

  5. Thank you Steve for pushing the conversation forward. These turbulent times bring opportunity for HR to take the lead. Instead of a priority focus on conformity, standardization and compliance, getting/keeping a seat at the top table; HR must help employees and the organisation to and develop the skills and mindset to navigate the constant ‘discomfort’ that is a sign of the times and embrace different thinking. HR is best placed to see value in the diverse, show different can actually be better and shine a light in the dark places where intolerance and fear can take decent human beings AND take a STAND. This work is too important not to STAND up and be counted. Cheers for a brilliant brainpoke article!

Comments are closed.