What is the purpose of Human Resources? Some may consider HR to be the “people administration” or “compliance police”. At its core, Human Resources, is about creating an environment where people can thrive. HR isn’t a separate department, even if appearing so on an organizational chart. Instead, HR works in partnership with an organization’s leaders and in-service to an organization’s team members, to permeate the workforce in intangible and tangible ways.
Culture is the term most often used to capture this idea. It’s been said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. Why is that? It’s because culture is the accelerant of performance. Too often culture is viewed as aspirational, elusive, or worse, manufactured. In reality, culture is what empowers people to perform each day, or not. When an individual is valued as a person, is offered the opportunity to apply and grow their talents, contribute to something beyond themselves, and trusts those around them, performance soars and we feel good about ourselves, our team, and our company.
Sustaining a healthy, vibrant culture isn’t always easy but it is fully possible by being intentional. After all, we’re all human. We mess up. Yet, we’re also capable of change. We’re able to learn. We’re able to pick each other up. We embrace accountability and we move forward with renewed commitment.
Like many professions, HR has its areas of expertise, too. The world of HR is certainly one filled with laws, regulations, and changing landscapes. Societal forces can challenge the status quo, lead to shifts in perspective, or highlight tensions that call for action. Some of the current and recent top issues include gender pay equality, #MeToo, Workplace Flexibility, the Gig economy, immigration, healthcare, and even artificial intelligence. It’s a balance of compliance and innovation. Compliance is necessary but not sufficient. Influencing change and innovative ideas fuel the future. What is or should be constant, though, is the connection among people.
What can be done to move in that direction? Connect with your professional colleagues - ask, listen, and share. Do the same thing with the people throughout your organization. Resist trying to be all things to everyone. Instead, find one thing that you can do this month and do that. Then, repeat the process next month. You will fail and learn. You will succeed and celebrate. In doing so, you thrive and when you thrive, those around you are better served.
About the Author
Barbara Bentley | Chief Talent Officer