When I Grow Up - A Workplace Where Bullying and Toxicity are Things of the Past


I spent nearly two decades working in the nonprofit sector as an HR director and VP. When I began my career, I had no idea that I would be touched so deeply by seeing others work tirelessly to improve the lives of the less fortunate. In my role, something that became important to me was that there was a sense that I was serving a greater cause by taking care of the employees who were tasked with taking care of others, thus advancing the mission and vision of the agency and ultimately making the world a better place one person at a time. I see many parallels between this sentiment and SHRM’s new “When I Grow Up campaign. Having moved on from the nonprofit world to UKG, I've learned to look for that sense of giving back in new and different ways.

I often mention in my writing and speeches that HR should never forget just how much impact we have on the lives of employees. Think about everything they rely on us for! Benefits, paychecks, mental health resources—all of these play a vital role in people’s lives every day. Let’s never lose sight of the fact that what we as HR and businesses do (and fail to do) will have a lasting impact on the next generation of workers. The policies we put into place, the company cultures we work to build and sustain, the tools and technology we provide our employees to get their jobs done efficiently and effectively, and equally as important the tools and technology we have (or unfortunately for many out there still, wish they had) to get our own jobs done—all of these things will have a direct impact on the workforce of the future.

If you’re reading this, that means you have an impact, too! We all do.

A much more personal thought also comes to mind for me. In my job, I focus on helping HR and businesses improve the employee experience in its many forms. Reflection has also brought me here: I do what I do to ensure my nieces and my nephew, ages five, three, and one respectively, grow up in a world and workplace free from bias, hate, and discrimination. I want Aubrey, Elise, and Tyler to enter a workforce where workplace bullying and toxicity are things of the past—things only referenced in textbooks as how it used to be. By coming together and recognizing that our similarities are much greater than our differences and that those differences make us unique, special, and valuable, we can make the workplace better for future generations—one person at a time.

Let’s do this, HR! 


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