What Do You Expect ??

This post asks HR what their focus is when it comes to their employees. Do they dread seeing them, or do they think they’re amazing?

When you think of your employees, what comes to mind?

Do you have positive thoughts?  Are you fondly reminded of how amazing the folks are at your company ??

What do you expect?  Seriously.  Have you taken the time to reflect on how your focus is as an HR practitioner when you go into work each day?  Are you looking forward to working with the people around you, or do you dread it?

If I asked you this in person, I’m sure I’d hear a positive response because you’d feel a little awkward because we’re only supposed to talk about surface level things to keep things within a social norm.  It may be the way you truly feel, and I hope it is.

However, when I keep my ear to the ground and listen to other HR pros, I hear more negative things than positive things.  I hear people grousing about the difficult person who did this, or the person who takes ALL  of my time, etc.

Don’t you think your employees see that in you?  Don’t you think that they’ve come to expect HR to be the department who brings the bad news?  Not very encouraging is it?

I think that we’ve made the rock prophet Don Henley’s words come true from his vintage song “Dirty Laundry” on his debut album I Can’t Stand Still.

“Dirty little secrets
     Dirty little lies 
 We got our dirty little fingers in everybody’s pie 
     We love to cut you down to size
We love dirty laundry”

I know that sounds harsh, but when I listen to HR people they tend to talk about the 10% of people who cause them the most problems instead of focusing on the 90% of people who are GREAT !!

I love HR Horror Stories as much as the next person, and I could add my share of them – believe me.  However, it’s time to change the tide.

People will see HR as a positive force in organizations when, and only when, HR is positive itself !!

So, what do you expect ?? Let me know.

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

10 thoughts on “What Do You Expect ??”

  1. But it’s so easy to go and/or be negative. Dammit to hell, now you want me to be nice too?

    On a serious note, this was exactly what I needed to read today. Thanks!

  2. It’s always the simple things isn’t it. I use to run big travel programs for a client – in some cases 500 people to a single hotel, airfares, meals, activities, meetings, etc. You can imagine the logistics associated with it. The staff I had for these programs would inevitably focus on the stuff that went wrong (and to a degree they needed to so that we didn’t repeat the mistakes) but I ALWAYS walked through the day and highlighted the fact that out of the literally 100s of things we had to do each day we got 99.999999999% of them right – and we rocked it. That set the next day up positively rather than going to bed after hashing out how we screwed up. Made a big difference in our work the next day.

    Keep up the fight brother – you are right on!

  3. You continue to amaze me and someday your “pay it forward” will pay off! I agree, way too much focus on negative, we all can get wrapped up in it, but thinking what good things have happened today. No one likes a “Debbie downer” but people cannot be around the people that motivate and inspire them enough. Well… being a business owner and managing partner, I am no longer surrounded by teammates. However, I will say that the absolute #1 reason I LOVED the jobs and was motivated to be there was the people, day in and day out. You have your “moments” of not so great situations and emotions but I love being with people. Of course, as most, I enjoy being with people that are like me. However when I think about when I have grown and learned the most, it has been with people that I have worked with that are very different than me, sometimes even in very difficult situations. Sometimes, I have become very dear friends with people that initially our relationship started off on “rocky terms” but due to mutual respect, we have learned and moved forward with new perspectives. I only wish that more people could seek out all the positives that each individual brings and reflect on the days activities with some takeaway (learning something, meeting someone new, etc). YOU ROCK STEVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BTW- I have always told you how much I love your choice of music and lyrics but you really put the icing on the cake by referencing one of my absolute favorite artists DON HENLEY/Eagles, great song but should stay in the lyrics of a song and not in our actions and words.

  4. I couldn’t agree more Steve. You and I are on the same wave-length with our blog posts today. HR is so good, and I love that you and I are challenging how people think about their own behavior in their HR practice. Gotta love the rock references too!

  5. Agree. I would add from a self-management perspective: When we allow our energy to be bound up in negative focus and reactivity, we no longer have that energy for other more worthy endeavors.

    I am not here to say that it is easy, but in some sense the whole game is won or lost depending our ability to manage our own anxieties, keep the negative from spreading, and remain non-reactive.

  6. This is not only true as HR pro’s…but in our personal lives as well. Focus on the positives and that’s what you’ll experience. Not always easy to do, but so true…

  7. Steve you are right about HR being viewed as the bearer of bad news! I believe changing your mind and looking for the positives in the people you work with everyday goes a long way in changing this impression of HR. I try to teach my managers to observe their employees and “catch them doing something right!” and praise them publicly. It is easy to see what they are doing wrong because unfortunately we have been programmed to focus on the negative. So we must be intentional about being positive!

  8. I’m glad someone has the onions to say it. It’s easy to find fault, but in reality it’s easier to find where praise is due. For some unknown reason, many HR professionals find it more satisfying to complain about the problem few rather than praise the many excellent employees that ALL successful business’ are grounded upon. Nice blog Steve!!

  9. Steve-
    This is exactly how I found my way into HR. As an engineer, I saw people wanting to do a good job, but not understanding their work processes and equipment well enough to do so. Then I started training, then working on how the team developed and before I knew what happened, I was ask to join the HR team. The overworked phrase (no, not “seat at the table” but the OTHER one) “our people are our most important asset” is true, and when we in HR can help that be demonstrated in results, then we make the difference we should. And you don’t get there by working on the problem people.

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