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This 2020 be a Role Model

I’ve worked in and outside of HR throughout my career and have at many times defended us to friends and people I meet around what HR is or isn’t. Last year as I saw more and more of my friends and HR colleagues go through difficulties within their careers, the news on organisations closing down and listening to everyone around me, I got thinking we really need to make a point in being the role model for organisations especially when things are tough.

I hope you have had a good start of 2020 and missed my blogs. This blog has actually been circling my head for a while, and now is finally coming out to you lovely HR community. Each year we set goals, milestones and intentions for what we want the year to look like and I wonder how many of us have added “be the role model for the organisation” as one of them.

I’ve worked in and outside of HR throughout my career and have at many times defended us to friends and people I meet around what HR is or isn’t. Last year as I saw more and more of my friends and HR colleagues go through difficulties within their careers, the news on organisations closing down and listening to everyone around me, I got thinking we really need to make a point in being the role model for organisations especially when things are tough.

The thoughts around this blog comes not just from my experience but also others, I think these are some key areas where we as HR professionals should really push our area to be role modelling in as we are the ones usually being the ambassadors for it, so it makes sense that internally we are congruent with what we say:

>Employee Engagement
>Flexible Working
>Redundancies
>Wellbeing

If we can show the organisations we work in/ for that as HR professionals we are serious about this, then everyone will take these more seriously and we can really have a huge impact on the world of work.

Employee Engagement
It is hard to promote this when our own teams are not feeling engaged. During times of change this becomes even more challenging as sometimes I feel we focus so much on the change management side, we forget including people is a basic value of Organisation Development. As we know engagement brings down barriers to resistance and provides more innovative solutions. I am always baffled why we don’t do it when we are having changes in HR and tell others to do it in their projects. In my eyes it is not only good practice but it is also a sign of integrity.

Flexible Working
Anyone notice that in HR once you reach mid-career the jobs that offer part time or flexible working are limited? Before setting out on my own, which I did both for lifestyle and loving the idea of helping a variety of organisations, I also looked into changing jobs into something more flexible. As I don’t have caring responsibilities and no “business case” for it, I found myself confused on why there were no mid to senior HR roles that offered this. Things are slowly changing within the workplace and more and more individuals are expecting this to be an option, so why don’t we have it? I talk to a variety of my HR colleagues and this is a challenge they face, some feel they are sacrificing their families to reach their corporate goals, others don’t know how to challenge the status quo, and when going through restructures some have found themselves having to go back to full time work if they want to stay within HR. We all know the huge amount of benefits around flexible working and there is no reason a single post in HR should not be open to it.

Redundancies 
Let’s be honest, even at times of restructure engagement and the way we treat people has to remain a top of the mind priority. I feel when changes are happening within HR (or even outside) it is easy to “toss it aside” and just focus on process. If we make sure we use empathy and servant leadership during this time, it is what keeps people we want in, and even the ones we have to say goodbye to (whether we want to or not) be brand ambassadors for us when they leave. I always for example talk about my time in 3M as a very positive one, and even say, “It would definitively be a place I’d consider to go back to”. I left due to the recession and cuts, but my loyalty to them will always remain because I was treated in a very human way in my way in, during my time there and on my way out.

Wellbeing
Is your HR team a tad stretched? Are you checking in with them to see how they are feeling? I find that when organisations are going through change, they heavily rely on their HR colleagues, which is hard if the HR colleagues are also dealing with the change themselves or are having to be the bearer of bad news. In psychology we talk about transference and this is something all HR peers should be aware of, as sometimes it can work both ways and affect our mental wellbeing. If there is a lot of change happening is there a special offer for help for HR colleagues? I believe this should be a no brainer.

We have to buy what we sell in order for others to also believe in it. If we focused on being integral with these pillars in and outside of HR we as a profession could create a huge impact on the world of work.

Cinthya Quijano, Director of Change Differently Ltd
Twitter: @sustainableOD, LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/cinquijano

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