This past weekend I traveled to the heart of Amish country in Ohio to beautiful Berlin, Ohio for the Classic in the Country basketball tournament. It was a full weekend of great high school varsity girls basketball!
The “unique” aspect of this tournament vs. others is that when the girls come out to the court before the game begins something other than the National Anthem occurred. (Fear not, they play the Anthem at the beginning of each day.) The announcer asked everyone to stand and then they played a quote from a Martin Luther King, Jr. speech. It was incredibly moving – and relevant!!
You see, my daughter only knows of Dr. King from History class or a textbook. Now that we are recognizing the 25th anniversary of the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, it made me reflective as well because Dr. King did things that we in HR should be doing as well . . .
Too often HR sees things that happen in companies and seeks the middle ground vs. addressing things directly. You see, if you ask Management, HR represents them. If you ask employees, they’d say HR represents . . . Management. The fact is that we represent all employees and we are obligated to look at all people practices that aren’t in the best interest of employees and get rid of them.
I’m not talking about obvious egregious or illegal behavior. That’s a no-brainer. I’m talking about policies (that we often generate) that do no good to the company. Honestly, most of our polices are created to address a few people’s poor behavior that we should be addressing directly any way!
Take a stand!
Do you like being ambiguous and wishy-washy? I don’t and I hope that as HR practitioners, you don’t either. It’s tough to take stands on things but companies expect us to make decisions and not practice conflict avoidance. People are tough. There’s no doubt about that. However, if you learn how to frame your approach and deal intentionally with people, you’ll be amazed at how effective an HR professional you’ll be!
Be the one person!
Too often people are waiting for someone to act. When HR is passive bad things happen more often than not and you become the person who’s always “putting out fires.” We desparately want someone to take action.
That needs to be YOU!
Dr. King took action when it wasn’t popular, when it involved incredible risk, and it represented those who weren’t in power. I want to be that kind of HR person all the time.
How about you?