Have you given the business equivalent of a hug to your HR professional today? If not (and my guess is that you haven’t EVER done that), then I’d like to suggest that you try it just once. C’mon. You can do it… O.K., maybe instead of actually hugging them, you could say “Thanks” every once in awhile and ensure that they know how important they are.
It’s tough to be in HR today. Even though talent management and employee related issues are touted as a strategic priority, HR often lacks the support and resources to be effective in those areas, and there’s no shortage of negativity out there for the HR professional to deal with. Numerous widely read and discussed articles have attacked the profession – “Why We Hate HR”, “A World Without HR”, and “HR Still Doesn’t Get It” just to name a few. While I may be a little biased after having spent the majority of my career in HR before making a change to focus on recruiting and coaching, I LOVE HR, couldn’t imagine a world without it, and think there are a number of people in any given organization who just “don’t get it” – including CEO’s and organizational leaders who don’t see HR as key players on their teams.
Recently, Steve Roesler blogged at All Things Workplace about “Why HR Really, Really Matters”. In this post, he pretty much sums up HR’s role:
“HR: Pediatrician, Cheerleader, Undertaker…
HR folks may be the only ones in an organization who knew you before you got the job; participated in getting you into the job; helped orient you to your job; participated in your development for the next job; listens to what you hate about your job; talks to your boss about what you hate about your boss and how (s)he manages your job; and maybe even escorts you out of your job – and the building. (What the heck, Elvis became famous for leaving the building.)
Why does this matter?
We’ve been talking “systemic” thinking. When something touches every nook and cranny of a system, it has a huge impact. Constantly.”
Wow. You’d think that the people or team within an organization that touches every employee in some way would be highly valued, and the employees who work in that area would have some of the highest job satisfaction levels in the company. And while that’s certainly true in some organizations, I’ve met many a talented HR professional who is burnt out or disengaged, including those who have left their companies and/or are considering leaving the profession. Why? Because like Rodney Dangerfield – HR folks often “get no respect”. What happens to employees who don’t feel respected or valued by their managers and companies? They flame out. They give up. They leave. An article titled “Fueling Employee Burnout” from Human Resources Executive magazine, a Wharton School study on burnout pitched the following:
“One of the biggest complaints employees have is they are not sufficiently recognized by their organizations for the work that they do. Respect is a component of recognition. When employees don’t feel that their organization respects and values them, they tend to experience higher levels of burnout.”
Wouldn’t it be a novel idea to go out of your way to recognize your HR team and communicate how much you value their contributions? They like t-shirts and coffee mugs just as much as the rest of the team, but they also like things like being recognized by the CEO in front of the entire organization (think top salesperson receiving a President’s Award). Or, how about showing respect for your senior HR leader’s contributions by doing something like investing in an Executive Coach for them? When you think about it, that person has no one to talk to within the organization about their personal goals, struggles or frustrations. HR typically fills that role for the rest of the organization, and the senior HR leader is often an advisor to the CEO, but they have no one there to talk to. Keeping their “stuff” to themselves isn’t any healthier for a HR Pro than it is for other people.
I challenge you to get creative and to show appreciation to your HR team today. They’re the heart and soul of your company. And while you’re at it, you should show some love to your favorite Recruiter, too. (ahem) I’m just saying…
Jennifer McClure is a Vice President at Centennial, Inc.,a Cincinnati-based recruitment and coaching firm, where she’s charged with strategic recruiting efforts, executive coaching and business development for the firm. Send her an uncustomized LinkedIn invite at your own peril…