You’re busy, I know. But I hope you’ll take a second to read this. It’s addressed to you (yes, you).
In case no one has said it to you recently, let me do so: thank you, HR.
You don’t hear it enough (or maybe at all). I know—I’ve been there.
Yet, you trod along every day at work, putting out fires, and preventing them from starting in the first place.
You show up. For yourself, for your business, for employees. Maybe for unique reasons known only to you.
That’s a big deal.
As you read this, think about all the roles you have played in your workplace since March 2020, and beyond. Times have not been easy, but we have persevered through one crisis after another. We’ve been on a rollercoaster that none of us asked for a ticket to ride. It’s been a time of change and a time of growth, a time of somewhat maddening and overused buzz words and phrases: The new world of work! The Great Resignation! Quiet quitting! Unprecedented times! And how can I leave out…” You’re on mute!”
My job affords me the opportunity to work with HR professionals from different industries far and wide, and what I’ve learned about the amazing people that make up this profession is nothing short of awe inspiring at times, especially in the last few years. Working in a profession that must balance the needs of the business with the needs of employees, all the while dealing with outside forces that are permeating the workplace, pervasive and relentless change, shifting employee expectations…and so many other nuances based on industry, geography, economy--is far from easy.
Yet, you’re doing it.
So, thank you HR for being the glue that has held workplaces—and people—together through one of the toughest times in history. It’s been you at the helm of so much, and the clichés do ring true. HR professionals have been so much to so many. We have been, and continue to be the therapists, psychologists, teachers, event planners, mediators, lawyers, HR tech implementers…and if you are like me, maybe even something like “director of copier services.”
Through speaking at state and local SHRM conferences and chapters all over the country, I’ve discovered so much more about our profession, and the people who are a part of it. We all have a story, and many of us worry that we are the only one who doesn’t have it all figured out in the workplace. I’m here to tell you that is not the case! None of us have all the answers. And let’s face it, the answers to some questions seem to change daily.
Having been a practitioner for many years, I’ve known that HR professionals have a great sense of humor (we must!). I’ve shared ab-workout-inducing laughs with human resources professionals from the stage, in expo halls, and after hours at conferences. In a profession where serious matters pervade everyday workplace experiences, it’s good to let loose occasionally. (Take this as a sign that you should, too)! It’s ok to take a break.
Thank you for the laughs, and I cannot wait to share more.
Thanks, too, for caring so much about the employee experience, and how we need to shift to meet the post-pandemic expectations that employees have. But don’t forget, HR—you are employees, and your experience at work matters, too. Continue to advocate for yourselves for the tools you need to get the job done more efficiently. Those who’ve heard me speak know that is something I reiterate each time I am in front of HR professionals. It’s likely no one will say it to you, so allow me to remind you just how important you are, and how your employee experience matters just as much as everyone else.
So, even though at times our work goes unrewarded, continue to innovate, to ask the tough questions, to suggest new ideas and goals for your people, and your organization. Continue to network, to learn, to grow.
The decisions you make today impact the choices of employees tomorrow. You do critical and important work, even if at times it is thankless.
But, from me to you, today, it’s not.