Why are you in HR?
Perhaps I could end this post with the title alone because it’s a poignant question. If you work in HR or make money off of HR, have you asked yourself lately why you are here?
Most will say they work in HR because they “love to work with people,” or they “like making a difference in organizations.” The funny thing is, the more you work in HR the more you find that the relationship you have with your employees is a bit of a sordid tale, and that making a difference is a periodic win that graces you with its presence maybe every solar eclipse.
So again I ask — why are you in HR?
Deciding to become the change
Do you know? I can tell you why I’m still here.
I used to be one of those rose-colored glasses kinds of practitioners, and then my first job out of school shattered my perception of the discipline. Every job thereafter wore down this notion of HR as an altruistic discipline. Suddenly, I had to find new meaning in the value I provided, because otherwise, I was working for a check and behaving like a robot programmed to do something just because.
So here it is: I am in HR because here in the U.S. we spend more time in our workplaces than we do with our own families. This is not by choice but out of necessity to do something viable that garners some remuneration to sustain ourselves and the people we love.
Some of us are in love with what we do, but many of us our in total disdain of our work lives because the work and/or environment (or both) are dreadful. Having been that person who dreaded showing up to work in a discipline that is supposed to love working with people and allegedly holds the all-spark of organizational inspiration, I decided I would become the change.
I made a conscious decision to not just complain and write the obituary for Human Resources, but to treat the employees with the care and kindness that was not shown to me. I insist upon implementing the initiatives and programs that I know will make a difference and a more desirable place for employees to spend 60-80 percent of their time.
A job is a means to an end
Ultimately, I have this crazy idea in my head that if I help organizations refocus on their talent and place them in top priority by providing meaningful and tailored work experiences, along with fair and equitable compensation rewarding a job well done, there will be happier employees — which will lead to more productive workplaces and perhaps a happier society.
Is this too much big picture?
I don’t think so. You see, the job is a means to an end. If we all won the lottery today we could call it quits and stop all of this ruminating about HR and what it’s not doing for us.
What we do in HR and in business is always about the people. They drive your business more than you are willing to recognize. In HR, it is our call-to-action to see that they have the tools, resources and toxin-free head and workspace to get the job done.
My obligation is a societal and human one. You treat people well and pay them their due sans the politics, games, bureaucracy, discrimination, etc.. If you do that you will have a happier ecosystem of people roaming the Earth.
That means there is importance in every step of the HR process. From making sure qualified candidates get a shot at the jobs they apply for instead of allowing a system to tell you whether they are qualified or not to ensuring that you are never late on processing payroll, always be sure to do right by your employees.
Fixing more than HR
I created my company to fix more than HR. I am vowing to fix a system that is broken and that sorely needs a human solution.
So I leave you with the initial question: why are you in HR?
The answer doesn’t have to be as elaborate as mine, but you may want to assess whether this is right for you — especially, if you aren’t willing to be the change you want to see in HR.
This was originally published on Janine Truitt’s The Aristocracy of HR blog.