Piggybacking on the FOT blogpost from Steve Boese a few days back, “Top 5 HR Time Sucks”, I was inspired to create my own top 5 list. This is a list of things I think are worth taking it on the chin for in corporate HR. So many of us are trained to, heck even demanded to, “know our place”. I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it. And sometimes that is damn good advice. HOWEVER… sometimes you gotta fight… for your right… to be a damn good HR leader.
Which is no easy task in a corporate world that still thinks “widget makers” rule the world.
1) Fight for your team: Your team is your backbone, your weapon, your com-padres. They are also the only ones you can share all the confidential burdens you have to hold everyday. They are your best friends, your counselors, your rocks. And they too are doing a whole lot o’ work behind the scenes that others may not see as “top line” contributors (so it’s not always sexy work). Damn it… fight for them when they aren’t being recognized or listened to.
2) Fight for your time: We are all busy. But if you don’t put the ki-bosh on all the unnecessary noise… you… will… drown. Many of us say, “But to be a good customer service agent I have to, always be available”. You also have to be PRESENT. If you are overwhelmed, interrupted or constantly jump when others say jump… you will not be present. Fight for you-time ’cause no one else will.
3) Fight for your budget. What gets cut first when things go bad? HR budgets. Then marketing. Then Accounting. Then nothing. Money makes the world go around. Quit being the peacekeeper for once and fight for your money. Don’t be stupid – back it up with metrics. BUT – we are so trained to be the humane department (which is a good thing) that we forget to be leaders. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. At least fight for the budget to stay in tact. You may not get it – but at least you can sleep at night knowing you’re not a coward.
4) Fight for your resources. What do I mean? If you need 3 Generalists instead of 2, put up your dukes. Some lame brain put it in our heads the most devilish of formulas: the “HR rep to employee” ratio. This ridiculous ratio states that corporations should hire 1 HR rep for every 100 employees. I almost hate writing that for fear someone else will learn this stupid statistic. Maybe this formula works if you are running a… shoot I can’t even come up with an example this is so ridiculous. Anyway – don’t be lazy or silly. If you need more help, prove why and fight for it.
Last but not least:
5) Fight for your salary. Bottom line, your non-HR peers are making more than you. And not because your profession is less marketable. Why? Your non-HR peers are asking for more and getting it. Why? (And… this is important.) You are basing your salary requirement on true market data, because that is your area of expertise. Hate to break it to you… but your non-HR peers are not looking at data, nor are a lot of your bosses. They are asking for more and getting it. Even if your bosses are using market data (like mine)… you still are asking for the bottom end. Final work: pay peanuts… get monkeys. Don’t be a monkey.
Dawn Burke, VP of Talent Consulting at Kinetix and founder/advisor for Dawn Burke HR, is an HR leader, speaker, and writer specializing in new HR practices, engagement and workplace culture. Her HR/recruiting/leadership career has spanned the last 20 years, with past gigs including a foundational role as VP of People for Birmingham, AL’s award-winning technology company, Daxko (And yes, Kris Dunn and Dawn are making Bham the HR capital of the world! Who knew?). You can also check her out at DawnHBurke.com and a variety of other interesting places. Google her, it’ll keep you posted on what she is up to.
Most importantly: She is addicted to TV, knows most of the lyrics to Hamilton and West Side Story, loves to cry at movies (check out Cinema Paradiso for a cry fest!), thinks wine, a wheel of Brie and Milk Duds make a well-balanced dinner, and sings in her car daily. Her husband and cat are the Yin to her Yang.