Stop Using That HR Voice and Talk to the People

What does it mean to be “HRed”?

As consultant Julianna Cantwell explained it to an Edmonton, Alberta audience last month, it means “constantly getting ‘No’.” It means being scolded for some infraction, but not being understood about the challenge of complying. “It’s about ‘How you guys to us,'” she said, describing a conversation she had with an acquaintance. It’s about lacking trust in HR and HR lacking trust in the people.

Cantwell, president of JUNA Consulting, said she’s encountered far more organizations where there’s a lack of trust in HR than good examples of mutual trust. “What can we do in our industry to change that stereotype or that stigma that ‘Oh-oh. Stop talking, HR’s in the room?”

Before offering some ideas, Cantwell described the problem: “HR. It’s just like insurance. Nobody cares about it till you need it.”

The way to change that, she says, is for people to understand what HR does — beyond just being the police. And the way to do that is for HR to “understand what they do.” And just how can HR do that? Empathy. Take a 5-minute break and hear what she has to say — in a thoroughly entertaining way — about improving the customer experience.

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