#Nextchat: HR, Be Human. Be Awesome.



Does the workplace have a love/hate relationship with HR?

It’s a profession with the best intentions and the worst stereotypes. It’s often misunderstood. HR is responsible for every aspect of an organization’s most valuable asset—its workforce—and the pressure is always on. In their efforts to be credible, competent and compliant, human resource professionals can sometimes come across as being very inhuman

As a social media influencer and the vice president of HR for Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge, La., Robin Schooling understands this dilemma and will often take her own profession to task over its shortcomings. If you read her blog post HR Juju, you’ll understand why—and how much she cares about HR.    

She acknowledges HR’s daily grind and offers advice for rising above it. Schooling writes in another blog post, Do Something Awesome Every Day, that “Many an HR professional trudges off to an office building and erects an invisible shield in an attempt to sanitize and remove all personal uniqueness. He dons his blue suit, she buttons up her jacket, and both go about their daily business with all the personality of a come-to-life corporate stock photo. Soulless bureaucrats. Afraid to be human. Afraid to do something awesome.”    

But times are changing, and so is the HR professional. With the help of social media and new workplace technologies, HR professionals are becoming better managers, smarter communicators and more engaged with their workforce. They’re not only interacting more with employees but reaching out to build greater professional networks with each other. They understand the importance of personal branding and are debunking the stereotypes. They’re funny. They’re charming. They’re human. (Even the introverts.)   

Schooling says, “I’m sure many of you who work in human resources have heard this, or a variation of it, from employees … 

‘You’re not like other HR people.’

‘Thanks for helping me through that situation.’

‘I appreciate you.’

‘You’re easy to talk to.’

’You’re fun.’

It’s OK for human resource professionals to have a personality. In fact, it’s preferable.”

What kinds of actions make human resources more human? Schooling suggests:

  • Taking someone from another department to lunch.
  • Writing a thank-you note to an employee.
  • Keeping your door open … and meaning it.
  • Eating lunch in the company cafeteria.
  • Going to happy hour with the sales department.
  • Singing karaoke.
  • Being human. Being vulnerable. Being awesome.

How can the HR profession make the grind great, shift attitudes and continue to evolve its professional ethos?

Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET on May 10 for #Nextchat with special guest Robin Schooling. We’ll chat about changing HR’s image from the inside out.

Q1.  What are the biggest misconceptions about the HR profession that cause a love/hate relationship in the workplace?

Q2.  As an HR pro, what negative statements and stereotypes about HR bother you the most?

Q3. Do you think that others in your organization truly understand the HR profession and the work you do? Why or why not?

Q4. What is there to love about HR, and what do you find most rewarding as an HR professional?

Q5. Tell us about a time when someone praised you and the work you do in HR. 

Q6. What aspects of HR (let’s be honest) really need to change?

Q7.  Is technology helping HR to be better managers and communicators and to be more accessible? More human? How? 

Q8. What are you doing as an individual, a department or an organization to help change any negative perceptions of HR?

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