Doubling-Down on “Pretty Okay” Human Resources Leaders

Laurie Ruettimann HR, Laurie Ruettimann, The HR Profession

Dave Ulrich has six competencies that define the modern human resources professional. Josh Bersin is out on the internet postulating a theory that he calls “Bold HR.” I have my version of how to define the future of our industry.

It’s called, “Pretty Okay HR.”

As in, “I just had a meeting with my HR Director. You know what? It was pretty okay.”

Pretty Okay HR is Confident

Confident people listen, look you in the eye, and don’t get too bent out of shape about much in life. They are positive, quick to trust, and don’t feel the need to have an answer ready for every question.

Could these “pretty okay” HR people be wrong? Of course. It’s no big deal. Let’s everybody get some snacks and figure this out together.

Pretty Okay HR Takes Risks

My good friend, Gerry Crispin, is a poker player. He takes risks. Sometimes he wins and sometimes he loses, but always he wears a hat and sunglasses while looking boss at the tables.

Pretty okay HR professionals will go to Vegas, too. They will play a hand or two of blackjack. Then they quit while they’re ahead, get some dinner and go to bed. When you play with your money, the house always win. I think they’re like that at work, too.

  • Software upgrade? How about a beta test.
  • New policy? Let’s figure out what’s wrong with the old policy.
  • Want to fire someone risky? Well, okay, maybe. First let’s hit the buffet.

Pretty Okay HR Doesn’t Ask for Permission

Listen, nobody doing “pretty okay” HR is going to risk his or her career on something stupid. When she does something, she’s 100% sure that she has the information—and the trust of her colleagues—to back it up.

When you have good relationships and a pretty okay track record, you don’t need to ask for permission. You have the freedom to do your job.

Pretty Okay HR is a Technology Ambassador

The one thing about pretty okay HR people? They’re not afraid of the cloud, Twitter or your cousin on SnapChat. They’re going to look at the internet, figure out how to automate the parts of their job that suck, and keep the most interesting stuff going.

I know some pretty okay HR people who were singing the praises of kiosks and mobile devices before anybody in San Francisco gave them permission to blog about it on Medium. I know pretty okay HR leaders who were doubling down on social networks and sending talent advisors to sourcing school before the internet was even a thing. They killed dowdy recruiting methods well before Linkedin caught wind of its potential and jacked up its prices.

Pretty Okay HR People are Everywhere

Me? I would give my time and attention to a genuinely okay human being instead of a bold and (more than likely) insufferable human resources professional who has a personal agenda.

Pretty okay HR people don’t have agendas. They have strategic plans. And they have personalities and fun lives, too.

Bet on that.

Laurie Ruettimann is a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur based in Raleigh, NC. She’s working on her next book about fixing work due out in 2020.