During yesterday’s YouTube live with Emmy Rousseau as we were talking about self-care practices, we discussed how something that may have worked for us in the past may not work now. As times and pressures and stresses change and manifest, we may need to try something different to help us back to a place of calm.
The same is true in HR and for all People Leaders.
What got us to where we are now, will not work as we progress and move forward. The things we used to talk about as nice to have’s such as home, flexible and four-day working, may now be necessities. And with this, we need a new way of leading, a new way of managing and a new way of transforming the world of work.
Throughout 2020 I saw many HR Professionals reach and in some cases pass breaking point. In addition to the ‘day job’ we, along with the rest of the world, found ourselves engulfed in this thing called furlough, in some cases entire workforces working from home or being at home and not working at all. We saw redundancies, business closures, business growth, new tech, enhanced tech and new ways to lift the spirits, morale and engagement of our people.
We saw HR do what HR do best, react and solve problems, and now we need to innovate, as well as in many cases go back to basics.
I grow more and more frustrated by the ‘copy and paste’ approach to HR where we beg, borrow and steal policies, procedures, training and induction programmes, recruitment best practice and such like. And with all of this, we wonder why we aren’t being recognised, being valued and being heard.
And all of this means that HR and People Leaders have to change.
Just as our businesses need to adapt and innovate to stay ahead of the game, so do we. And this may mean often looking outside of our own sector for ideas and innovation in others. How are marketing teams encouraging people to buy? How are magazines encouraging people to read? How is Netflix encouraging people to watch? What do we need to do to get our ideas across the line? What do we need to do to get that well deserved and much-needed seat at the table? How do we need to invest and develop ourselves to ensure we stay front and centre, not hidden as a support function waiting in the wings?
Patty McCord talks frequently and passionately about why there is no ‘best practice’ in HR and indeed I’ve been talking about why we need to burn the Handbook since 2017, and yet we still search for best practice, and handbooks and templates. If our companies are to have a competitive USP, so too must we.
How often are we looking at the biggest concerns of CEO’s and matching our offering to these? How often are we truly engaging with our people and creating solutions that match their concerns and issues, and developing more of what our people love?
HR comes under the microscope a lot. We have far too many conversations about what we should be called and not enough about the value we can add. We spend too much time looking for templates and not enough time innovating. We spend too much energy ‘coaching’ others in what they should and shouldn’t be doing, and not enough being coached ourselves. I am hugely passionate about the sector I have spent 23 years working in. I am passionate about helping People Leaders be the change they wish to drive forward and I remain 100% confident that HR can add enormous value to every single organisation. I fear though, that the sad reality is that if we don’t take a giant leap forward and be the role models we wish we had, there will be no HR in five-years-time.
It is absolutely critical that we stop looking at what everyone is doing and assuming it will work for our people, and instead take some of this creativity and creativity, speak to our leaders and our people and create the right solutions in the right way and the right time. We need to be the USP that gives our people, all of our people the competitive advantage. We need to be leading the field in creating employers of choice. We need to stop being busy and start being productive. We need to push for the resources we need to deliver excellent service. We need to demand fully working and up to date HR Systems that remove our level of admin. We need to believe in ourselves. We need to have clear boundaries and take time out. We need to keep developing, we need to invest in our development, and this doesn’t need to be an expensive qualification or in the next psychometric.
Our development needs to focus on us leading from our core. When we lead from our core our confidence grows, our presence becomes greater, our voices become heard and we become the role models that our people need.
What got us here won’t get us there.
The change has to start with us.
Kelly is an Executive Coach for Rebellious Leaders at kellyswingler.com and Founder of The Chrysalis Crew.
She leads and coaches with an open heart, an open mind and has the courage to challenge the status quo and do things differently so that we can all love our roles, find balance in our lives and so that we can all change the world of work for the better.