Dear Diary: Another "Normal" Day in HR?

September 06, 2019
MRA Edge
Leadership & Management & Supervision
Read time: 4 mins

Dear Diary,

Holy moly, what a day! I get that no two days as a HR director are the same, but today was jam-packed. Some days I’m not sure why I have a to-do list, I don’t get to it because there are so many fires to put out. Like when I was walking into the office (not even in the building yet!), I passed a car and noticed one of our maintenance guys, Jack, sleeping in it. That’s new. Concerned, I knocked on the window, woke him up to find out his apartment just got painted and he slept in the parking lot all night! He’s a good guy, but that was a bad decision. We talked and he knows he can’t do that again. Something to add to the employee handbook!

We’ve had such a hard time filling open jobs. This talent shortage thing is real! There’s a lot of pressure to find the right people and then get them to stay. Unfortunately, the pressure got to me and I went against my better judgment a few weeks ago. Deanne approached me to say her boyfriend was looking for a job, that he was a hard worker and could start right away. Music to my ears! So, I met with Mike (the boyfriend). While he wasn’t a home run and something about the situation gave me pause, I hired him anyway. Fast forward to today, when I hear two people fighting. It was Deanne and Mike, and clearly it was going badly. I needed to step in when Mike started flinging four-letter words and people around were getting super uncomfortable. I thought to myself, “Is this really my job?” Anyway, Mike left and didn’t come back, and Deanne is so embarrassed. A great reminder to trust my gut.

During lunch, I watched a webinar on upcoming trends in HR—so interesting! I really connected with the part that talked about the need to be forward thinking, to rise to the occasion by looking at long-term goals, not just short decisions. In the past, HR was viewed as the compliance police or paper pushers, but now we are more collaborative, more of a partner, and that makes such a difference. At least in my organization, HR’s reputation is a trusted role, where we are part of the decision-making process that drives the direction of the business, focusing on sustainability versus just keeping it all afloat.

Even though fighting fires is part of our job, we have to find a balance between being reactive and proactive to help drive our organizations forward.

I was talking with my new HR manager, Katie, after a meeting this afternoon and we got on the topic of how HR plus the culture equals the glue that holds the company together. We called HR the culture steward because HR touches every function across the organization, beginning with job candidates. And culture drives the company’s success when people feel a part of it, right? We agreed that problems happen when employees don’t see value in HR and/or the culture. It was such a good impromptu discussion we are going to schedule a meeting to talk about it more.

I’m presenting to leadership next week about strengthening our internal HR department, and I’m not going to lie, I’m kinda freaked out. But it’s something I think needs to be done. We really need to make a concerted effort to focus on developing the HR talent we have to align our skills with what’s on the horizon so we can support that and not become obsolete. Being in HR, it’s so easy to put everyone else’s HR needs in front of your own! I want to set us up for success.

I do love my job. I enjoy connecting with people, helping them succeed in their positions. I like how I need to flex constantly with daily tasks but still look to the future and plan how long-term objectives are going to play out. It’s a balancing act for sure, and it keeps me on my toes.

Sheesh, look at the time—it sure does fly when you’re thinking HR! I’d better get some sleep so I can be well-rested tomorrow. Who knows what the day will bring?

MRA Edge September/October 2019

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