TagAvoiding HR Burn-out

Back To Blogging Basics

2016 is going to be a back to basics year on at The Buzz on HR.

When I started this blog almost 5 year ago, my dear friend about Jamie Gaymon gave me three pieces of advice that have always stuck with me:

  1. Write about what you’re passionate about … Writing isn’t easy. Most people dread it. If you’re lucky enough to like it and be good at it, choose to write about something you enjoy. Otherwise, you will burn out and resent the work involved in building, maintaining and growing a blog.
  2. Know your audience … When you write, you need to have an idea in your head of the person you’re talking to. Of course, you want anyone and everyone to read your work. You want people in all 4 corners of the world to read it and love it! Initially and immediately, that won’t be the case. So make sure you know who you are talking to — and what you’re talking about.
  3. Be consistent … Whether it is once a day or once a week or once a month, set a consistent schedule for when you will post new content. You can always add more if/when you want to — but reducing the schedule will hurt your following.

I’ve violated rule #3.

I’ve said over and over that stuff of life and other demands zapped my creativity and pulled me away from writing. It’s my truth.

It’s also my truth that my inconsistent posting and occasional hiatuses hurt my following and cost me opportunities. This is the year that I right the ship.

I’m going back to basics.

I’m going back to writing weekly posts directed at active managers, leaders and human resources professionals. I will sprinkle in humor and sarcasm and pop-culture references. I will share real stories from my escapades in the HR trenches but change the names to protect the innocent. I will connect my every day happenings with management lessons for practical wisdom.

But that’s not enough. That’s not all.

Because part of the reason I took those hiatuses was because I wanted to share other stuff but didn’t know how. Stuff about my faith and my frustrations and my fears. Stuff about my perspective on race and gender in our world at large and especially in the world of work. Different stuff. Uncomfortable stuff. Stuff of life stuff.

Now that I’m back, I’m going to share that stuff. I need to share that stuff. It is scary. I’m going to have to change my style, my approach and push myself. I’m going to have to trust the message will find its way to its audience and that it will resonate with anyone who chooses to read it. I’m going to have to trust my audience to both rebuild and grow with me.

I’m going back to basics. Will you go with me?



How I Would #MakeHRBetter

I got an email last week from the awesome Steve Browne announcing that he was hosting the first Carnival of HR for 2015.

The Carnival has been around for almost 8 years now. Each week, one HR blogger takes a turn hosting. The host selects a theme and reaches out to other bloggers for either original or recently written posts on the theme … You may remember when I hosted back in February 2014.

Steve is one of my favorite HR people on the planet. He is a constant source of support, encouragement, sharing, positivity and welcome all across the social HR and SHRM space. I admire him greatly. So my response to his requests for posts in his Carnival was three words …

Count. Me. In!!

Steve’s theme? Complete the statement “I would make HR better by …”

So here goes.

I would make HR better by improving the confidence of HR practitioners surrounding the validity, importance and standards of our profession … In my opinion, HR remains the only profession who seems unsure about their very being and their value to and in business. You just don’t see Accounting or IT or Marketing or Operations people questioning if their function is needed and how they help the business reach goals. Yet HR is still having these conversations all the time — and, for the life of me, I cannot understand why.

Well, that’s not true. I kinda do understand why. The issue as I see it is two-fold:

  1. HR is focused on people — and so is everyone else. Every area of the business has people who have managers who have manager who have manager who are responsible for making sure they do right and generally get done right. When a business looks at the HR focus through this narrow lens, HR seems redundant and unnecessary … But just because it looks that way doesn’t make it true — and it definitely doesn’t mean HR should buy into that narrow-minded thinking, too!
  2. HR gets the leftovers. Although the tide is changing, HR has been the place where people without “real” business savvy were plopped. Can’t cut the mustard in Operations? Go to HR! Need a place to put the owner’s daughter? Go to HR! You say you like people and don’t want to be limited by budgets and rigid reporting? Go to HR! And in many organizations, there is still has some of that … So when you add all the fighting and debate about the need for formal and continuing education in the HR profession which leads to people not pushing their learning AND you add all the snake-oil HR salesholes pimping products not based in any business reality, you end up with stale leftovers . Why would anyone want that? Yuck (By the way, this issue of stale HR leftovers existed loooooooong before the HRCI/SHRM break-up.  Way way way before).

When HR doubts itself, the rest of the business world begins to doubt, too. Which leads to our practitioners being under-utilized and under-paid in many organizations and industries. Which leads to good practitioners getting frustrated and either leaving the profession altogether or starting their own businesses. Which leads to more debate about the necessity of HR and whether business is better off without it.

The cycle is vicious. And HR would be better without it.

HR would be better if its practitioners got educated and stayed educated about the history, theory and practical application of the laws behind our areas of influence.

HR would be better if we stopped fighting for recognition and just focused on creating and executing solid strategy to advance the goals of the organization.

HR would be better if we stopped allowing the stale leftovers to be plopped into our department causing bottlenecks, inefficiency and increased risk.

HR would be better if we found our mojo … our swag … our confidence … our voice … our truth.

When HR finds this, business will find it, too. And the world of work will become a better place.

Want to see what the other HR bloggers out there had to say? You can read all the posts HERE at Steve’s blog — or check the #MakeHRbetter hashtag on your social media channels.



How To Delegate Effectively – Part 2

Last week, over at Performance I Create, I wrote a post entitled “How To Delegate Effectively.” This week, I’m continuing my advice on how to effectively delegate here.

In part 1 at PIC, the focus was on the reasons to delegate and ensuring clear understanding of tasks delegated.

In part 2, the focus is on the who of delegating effectively.

The hardest part of delegating is believing the other person can carry the task through to completion with the level of excellence you envision and expect. You have to be confident in your own decision-making as well as the abilities of others. Trust is the heart of how to delegate effectively.

When deciding who to delegates tasks to, consider the following:

  • Their knowledge. The person should have an appropriate level of knowledge and the skills needed to complete the task assigned. Without this, the person will struggle and the work will suffer.
  • Their independence. The person should be able to organize, execute and troubleshoot their way through completion of the task assigned without constant supervision. Without this, both you and the person will feel frustrated and the work will be delayed.
  • Their goals. The person should have an interest in the subject matter of the task — or the task should be related to the work the person currently performs in his/her job role. Without this, the person will either be unenthusiastic or distracted and the work will suffer.
  • Their workload. The person’s workload should allow sufficient time to complete the task assigned within time and budget constraints. Without this, both you and the person will feel stressed and the work will be delayed.

Another thing to consider is the position of the person respective to you. Delegation happens laterally or down. Never up. I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you but delegating upward is just whining. It demonstrates lack of accountability, creativity, resilience and vigor.

Do not do it.

That’s not to say that people who aren’t the boss don’t get overwhelmed or need help and guidance. It happens to people every day. However, when that happens, you cannot just give work back to your boss. Don’t just bring uncompleted tasks to the table — bring suggestions on who and how to get the work done in a way that results in effective delegating.

Because when delegating is done with the right spirit, everyone wins.

What is HR Thirsty For?

I attended a HR luncheon not too long ago. I arrived early and found no one there I knew. Instead of going into introvert mode, I decided to sit down at a table, join the conversation and try to make some new connections. Here’s what I walked in on …

“It’s been over a year of the same thing now. I keep telling them what they need to do to make things better around here. They don’t want to listen to me. I don’t feel like they value my input at all.”

“I totally understand what you mean. It’s the same at my job. I’m not even invited to their meetings anymore. They can’t handle the truth about what needs to happen to fix the mess they’ve made.”

I just sat there, feeling out of place and uncomfortable and praying they wouldn’t ask me to join the conversation.

They didn’t. And they didn’t introduce themselves either. They just kept talking about how horrible it was their companies wouldn’t give HR the attention and opportunity it deserved.

One might say they sounded really … thirsty!!

Yep. I’m using urban slang to describe a HR phenomenon. Again …Don’t judge. Keep reading.

The urban dictionary defines thirsty as “eager to get attention; to crave spotlight; desperate to be chosen”

Sound familiar? It should … In many organizations, HR feels unheard, undervalued and marginalized in their role. Like the people at that luncheon table, lots of HR professionals go to work every day seeking the attention of senior management, the spotlight of business and are desperate to be chosen to lead organizational change.

I’m not going to go into the reasons why HR should be involved in the strategic planning of business. It is well documented that organizations who utilize HR in a strategic capacity are more financially successful and maintain a more positive reputation and healthier working environment than those who marginalize HR to traditional, administrative functions.

What I am going to go into is what HR should stop doing that makes them look thirsty.

  • Stop openly criticizing the decision-makers … Just because you aren’t part of the discussions doesn’t mean you get to nit-pick all the ideas and efforts. Give the benefit of the doubt, even if the analysis missed some stuff. Besides, it only leads to you being more left out of the team.
  • Stop threatening litigation … Telling the organization not to do something that’s good for progress because there’s an off-chance they might get sued is not helpful. Mitigating and defending the company’s decisions is part of your job — so do it! Besides, it only makes it look like you’re afraid to fight.
  • Stop saying people are going to be unhappy and quit … Turnover is necessary and not always a bad thing. There’s a huge difference between normal and the truly negative trends. Make sure you know and speak about the difference. Besides, it only makes it look like you’re the one who is unhappy.

Instead, try doing more of the stuff like this:

Start showing enthusiasm for proposed changes. Be excited for the opportunity that a new project brings and seek partnerships across functions and departments to make it successful.

Start proposing the changes you want to see. Not suggesting or guilting or badgering — but legitimately proposing. Provide full, comprehensive analysis and recommendations for the improvements you believe in.

HR must open its mouth to say something other than “no” and “that won’t work’. We must talk about what’s possible and how we are going to get it done.

Because, while HR is often waiting on the organization to listen, the organization is waiting on HR to talk … Holla back!


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