You Want to Work In HR? Are You Ready to Change the Status Quo?

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Jul 4, 2014

I am meeting more people these days who want to work in HR and I usually ask them why – not because I don’t think it’s a good idea, but because HR’s role and it’s true potential for impact is misunderstood.

Usually the answers are admirable. like “I really like helping people,” or “I want to help businesses figure out how to treat staff better,” or something along those lines.

But most HR people will tell you that sometimes we don’t make people happy — and that’s not a bad thing.

How do you measure success?

It’s great that people want to work in human resources – someone has to – but not everyone is cut out for it. The role of HR isn’t to handle the fluffy stuff like sending birthday greetings to employees, arranging socials and making sure everyone gets along. And it’s definitely not about ticking boxes and being the corporate police.

Yes, HR has to do some of these things. I can’t lie about that. But if you work in HR and that’s the most important part of what you do, you might want to rethink it.

Is this how you measure success?

  • It’s one big, happy family at your office.
  • People get paid on-time.
  • Everybody loves you.
  • You dodge the bullets that will make people dislike you.

Doing something that makes a difference

As I said before, yes, this is part of HR’s deal – we have to do it. Usually HR is concerned about safety and compliance, but the more important part of the HR’s job is being brave, taking risks, and adding value.

Think about it: All the HR people I know (me included), are pretty passionate and want what we do to count, right? That isn’t just magically going to happen.

You have to be willing to challenge the status quo, have difficult conversations with leaders, and say the things that need to be said even when nobody else wants to. For the HR people reading this, you know exactly what I mean – stop shying away from the heat because you don’t want to rock the boat.

So, for the current and future HR pros, what are really doing that makes a difference in your business? Are you comfortable with being uncomfortable or is peace and love more important to you?

This was originally published on Sheena Sigsworth’s blog.