Human resources, like many modern organizational processes, has been intensely studied, written about, workshopped, legalized, and systematized. An entire industry and profession has grown up around “HR”, and most every organization, whether through dedicated HR professionals (on staff or outsourced) or as part of routine operations, is familiar with HR standard procedure. Great benefit has resulted, chief being a predictable pathway for adding people to our workforce within a safe work environment. And yet, in all this standardization, something has been lost along the way. It's as if we'd forgotten the human part of HR.
When we bring people in—whether we are hiring a single person, creating a new team, or restructuring an entire organization—we are acting as a kind of host, inviting guests to join us. Like hosts, for employers hiring, it is essential that we invite the right people, that they feel welcome, they’re clear about the purpose of the visit, and they know how they’re going to get their needs met. And it is the attitude behind these actions that endow their meaning. Anyone can go through the motions of hospitality, but it is the underlying feeling of caring for others that makes all the difference.
An organization is, at its essence, a human gathering—and all human gatherings are more alike than different. We come together for a common purpose, and we bring all of our humanness with us: our vision and expectations, our unique combinations of talents, strengths, and personality. As conveners of any gathering, whether a team, an organization, or a party at our home, our mission is to create the right combination of humans to achieve the desired result. When we find the right mix, and bring them together in a way that recognizes each individual and his or her role as part of the group, we move toward our collective purpose with greater ease. And we achieve more together than we could separately, whether our aim is simply to enjoy an evening together or to change the world.
Unfortunately, “HR” has become so encumbered by labor laws and handling complaints, the challenges of a diversifying workforce and the rapid pace of change, that the idea of hospitality is often buried deep beneath the soil of protecting the organization. It is as if we were inviting our employees to enter through the gate while posting sentries on either side of it. And our best HR professionals know this. They tell us their greatest challenge is reminding leaders that HR is about people, not only their paperwork and compliance, but their well-being and development, their ability to contribute and belong.
Fifty years ago, our parents and grandparents had different expectations. Relationships between companies and their employees were often paternalistic, mutually committed, and lifelong; the job was a kind of resting place, providing both financial security and identity. But today we see work differently. First, the boundary between work and life is ever more porous with home offices, telecommuting, and 24/7 access. This fluidity means people can do more than one job, can start their own business from home, can work from an ocean away – which is changing what “workplace” and “job” mean. And workers (especially the latest crop) are no longer satisfied working solely for a paycheck and nor do they gain identity solely from a job. They are looking for the place they can express themselves and grow as human beings, while contributing to something greater. And this means they are choosing their work environment as much as the employer is choosing them. All of this is good news—there is great potential to be realized through these changes—but only for those of us who are ready to step up our HR game, to put the “human” back in “HR.”
Bringing People in Well™ was created to help you do just that.