Lead by Example and Get Moving


Every now and then, HR likes to complain. We get frustrated when our managers don't have their reviews done on time. The CEO falls silent on some rumors about a change in the organization? We are lamenting the death of communication in the workplace. But when it comes to looking at our own department, and meeting the deadlines and obligations we are asking our employees to adhere to, we turn a blind eye. As was my commitment in 2014, I am challenging HR to do one thing in 2015. Lead by example. My one challenge to HR pros for 2015 is to lead by example and I'm starting with that HR pro in the mirror.

At the beginning of every New Year, resolutions are made. Many focus on personal well-being and goals are made to improve our mental and physical fitness. Organizations do the same thing. We set goals and financial targets to measure our employees. One goal of many HR organizations is to reduce the insurance claims costs of our employees. To do this, we tout the benefits of wellness programs. We dust off the fitness reimbursement policy to remind employees to get to the gym. Many organizations are implementing expensive programs, using wearable technology like Fitbits or Jawbones, to encourage their employees to get moving. The programs are also used to increase employee engagement, morale, and camaraderie. Yet, we propose these programs while cooped up in our offices. We schedule a conference call with the CEO, instead of walking to her office. We take the elevator to the floor above instead of taking the stairs.

At the end of last year, our HR organization got FitBits. (For the record, I am not endorsing this particular product, nor am I being paid by them.) The challenge was to use these for our own personal health and to look for ways we could to do something creative with our client groups. I was skeptical at first but, as I have been using this, my behaviors have changed. I'm a pretty active guy. I run at least 4 days a week and have mostly healthy habits. But I found myself chained to my office all day. I got lazy. With my Fitbit, however, I have become more active during the day. When time permits, I take walk breaks. This got me thinking about ways to use this with my client groups.

My Chief HR Officer leads by example. I was in Seattle for the first week of my new job and had a meeting with him. Instead of sitting in his office, we had a walking meeting, taking in the beautiful sites of the Seattle waterfront, laying out the goals and expectations of my role. That meeting stuck with me and is the main driver of my goal for 2015.

In 2015, my goal is to incorporate more walking meetings into my day. When I have conference calls with my Seattle team, we will grab our phones and conduct business while walking. For shorter meetings, I'm going to encourage my colleagues to stand. I joined the gym in our office building and I am making sure I have time to use it. So far this has been successful. I'll encourage my colleagues to incorporate the walking meetings into their routines. Chicago has the best lake front, and when the weather is warm, what better way to solve issues than doing so by the lake!

It is easy to point fingers and lay blame on others when our deadlines aren't met. We listen to the excuses and roll our eyes as to why they haven’t been completed. But are we part of the problem? Are we showing others that we expect the same from our HR teams as we do of our clients? That's the challenge I'm taking on in 2015. Join me for a walking meeting?




The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

Add new comment

Please enter the text you see in the image below: