HR’s job has always been evolving. We have gone from administrative paper pushers to devising strategy that has operational impact to the organizations we serve. Are we headed for another evolution in this tumultuous political environment? I think so, but like many other human-related issues within organizations it isn’t really something HR can fix with a sweeping policy, focus group, or strategy.
Let’s consider a few factors. Before November 9th of 2016 how much did you think about employees’ or co-workers political ideologies? Probably not much, but when you consider that those ideologies could be tied to human flaws particularly the flaws of intolerance and hatred – what policy of strategy are you going to devise to combat that?
Better yet, if you are an HR professional of color who is now met with an emboldened employee who is anti-anything White, Anglo-Saxon, how motivated are you to work with that person and better yet serve them? How about if they verbalize their disgust for gender-neutral bathrooms despite the current regulations in place and several members of your team are part of the LGBTQ community?
Humans are flawed and messy. That makes our work in HR – flawed and messy.
I’m not suggesting that everybody wear their political ideologies on their sleeves and draw a line in the sand. Obviously, nothing would get done if we did that. However, I think we often paint a pretty picture of how things could and should play out without considering what has a real possibility of happening. That is to say that if people are protesting in the streets and having heated arguments/differences both in real life and online that are starting to reveal some character flaws; there is little if anything that any one-size-fits-all diversity, inclusion or HR program you could do to combat that.
The challenge of our work in HR is anticipating human behavior and balancing it with checks and balances through programs and policies. If we’re honest, we have never been able to control human behavior. All we really have success in is creating the best possible circumstances for our workforces to thrive. We have never truly been in control of the outcomes. If you disagree, I will kindly ask you to go back 5-8 years, search any common HR concern and count how many of the topics are recurring from year-to-year.
Where we get better is in rethinking how we approach the recurring and new issues that crop up, with the understanding that how it all plays out is dependent on something completely out of our control – human intention and behavior.
Back to the initial concern of the political environment, the same old policy and focus groups are not going to cut it. Now, more than ever we need to be sharing our experiences as a collective community and brainstorming better solutions. We need to not be afraid to say to the C-Suite that just-in-time training and reactive policy development will no longer do their company any good. This is a time for every HR practitioner to listen more than they speak. It is time to get comfortable with uncomfortable discussions about racism in the workplace, politics, pay disparity etc. I have met way too many practitioners in my travels that all too often have these items on their yearly HR to-do-list, but consciously put them off because it either doesn’t affect them or they can’t be bothered.
If you think what is going on outside the walls of your company doesn’t have the ability to spill into the day-to-day operation, you are kidding yourself. Your employees need a little more of the “human” out of Human Resources right now.
Here’s how you give them that “human factor”:
- Do not ignore complaints or concerns raised around employee relation concerns. This has always been true, but right now it is even more important. You need to have a handle on any discrimination, bullying or violent behavior that may be brewing in your organization.
- Make sure you are advising your C-Suite leaders regularly about the climate within the organization. It is important that the C-Suite and HR are in alignment on how to deal with sensitive matters. Encourage your leaders to be more visible than perhaps they are accustomed to.
- Communicate with your workforce regularly and let them know you are available. Yes, I know you are swamped and don’t have time for people traipsing in and out of your office all day. However, would you rather that you catch an issue early or when you’re in court? Will you sleep better at night knowing you settled an employees’ concerns or would you rather see them as a number? Regular communication keeps gossip and assumptions at bay. If your employee’s know where you stand they don’t need to wonder or conjure up alternative facts. See what I did there.
- Time to look at your programs and get some real feedback on its effectiveness. Yes, it will sting if you get negative feedback. However, the goal with any program or training is to actually usher in change. If your goal is to keep the organization afloat during these tumultuous times and keep the workforce progressing on an upward trajectory – you ought to evaluate what you are doing and how you are doing it.
- Add some levity to the workday every week. It doesn’t have to cost a lot or be overly time-consuming. What people need is a break from reality. Regardless of what our individual ideologies are, we can all find some commonalities among us. Have a “bring your favorite board game to work day” or an ice cream sundae social. Give people a chance to see the good in their co-workers .
- *Bonus* Watch the HR department carefully. You can’t have people so-called dedicated to making a difference for entire organizations be simultaneously pumping their fist for all muslims to be banned from the US in the breakroom or be rallying for the KKK off-hours. It is a bit of an oxymoron; don’t you think?
Creativity and heart have always been the answer to most of HR’s woes. There is no better time than now, to put both of them to use.
My marketing professors used to say that some companies would hire millennials to take care of digital media needs partly because they were, you know, millennials. I can understand having that viewpoint somewhat, I mean we did grow up with the technology. Over the past twelve weeks, I have been assisting Janine N. Truitt also known to many as “CzarinaofHR” in managing her brands for her businesses Talent Think Innovations, LLC and The Aristocracy of HR. In that time, I have realized that I knew nothing about social media in the business sense and could not help any business succeed in the social media part of their marketing strategy with just what I knew from college and my personal use.
Here are a few things that I have learned:
- Social Media Is Very Fickle: I have come to realize that while I might like Facebook as a personal platform, as a business platform it is hard to manage. I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it is to continuously get the same or more reach per post on Facebook and don’t even get me started on likes on the page itself.
After Facebook comes Twitter, this is my personal favorite and managing it has been so much fun. My favorite part next to engaging with people is the hashtags. It’s always interesting to see what people post under the common ones; but I especially like the ones that are used for business. The way I see it, it’s another opportunity to engage with people and possibly get some new followers. My only gripes would be: running out of characters when you have the perfect hashtag but it can’t fit. In those moments I can’t help thinking I need just one more character, especially when you have the perfect tweet.
- When it comes to digital marketing for business it’s not just about finding content, but content that represents or is related to the industry of your business: Before starting this internship, I thought brands just put their content out on social media or re-tweeted some of their followers’ content. I am so glad that it is so much more than that. Often times, people try to gain followers on Twitter by mostly posting cat videos or something that is funny. When you’re managing a business, you can’t do that and personally I don’t think it’s limiting; but rather it allows you to get more creative with the content that you do post.
- Social media is part of the marketing strategy not the strategy itself. During my time with Janine (“CzarinaofHR”), I learned that there is so much more to marketing than I thought – even though I studied it in school. Everything that I have learned during this internship is important, but I think my one main takeaway is this: there are so many parts to a marketing strategy. A business can have one overall strategy with several different components. Social media is just one component. While social media is important, it shouldn’t make or break you. As Janine says: “if one of these platforms goes down or goes away, it shouldn’t impact me so much that I have to close my doors.”
I have learned so much more during this internship than I thought I would. I look forward to having fun managing her social media brand for the remainder of my internship. This experience, has also helped me refine my career path. I know that I want social media or digital marketing as it is called to be a part of my job but not all of what I do. I love digital marketing. I wasn’t sure about that before this internship, but I am clear now. I have decided I want to be more involved in the overall marketing strategy of a company.
I want to thank Janine N. Truitt of Talent Think Innovations, LLC for guiding me these past few months and teaching me so much. She gave me the best launching pad for my career.
Kimberly Minto is has a B.A. in Marketing from Hofstra University. She is a Digital Media Intern for Talent Think Innovations, LLC. Kimberly aspires to have her own Marketing/PR firm someday. Follow her on Twitter at: . Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a happy and safe holiday. I took some time off to breathe, recharge and position myself and business for the New Year. It was a reflective time where I was fortunate to catch up with family, friends and colleagues. In doing so, I gained a perspective on what I have done and what I am called to do through my business going forward.
I am happy to share that this month marks the 3rd anniversary for my company, Talent Think Innovations, LLC. Admittedly, I knew what I intended for this business when I started it in 2013, but had no idea where it would actually take me.
What do I mean by this?
I wrote an article in 2014 called: “Are You Ready to Pivot?”. The goal I had in mind for that article was to raise awareness around the need for HR and people in business to become adaptable and ready to make decisive changes when circumstances and/or market shifts call for it. Ironically, I look back at this article and recognize that 2016 has presented fertile ground for me to pivot. I spent much of my time off considering how I would continue propel my business to success and whether I am prepared to take yet another step outside of my comfort zone and let the world know.
After lots of wine, prayer and discussions with my circle of trust, I decided it is important to honor the work I do fully. Honoring my work means ensuring that people have a clear perspective on what I do and how I do it. Talent Think Innovations, LLC was founded as a HR Consulting Firm focused on helping small-to-midsize businesses establish sustainable talent management strategy. I made the decision to create the company focus around HR as a matter of comfort and passion. It was what I knew for over eight years and it just felt right.
Without boring you with all of the details, I find myself today having a much broader impact than HR strategy. I’m not abandoning HR, but I am giving my HR prowess some friends with which it was already comfortable. As such, Talent Think Innovations, LLC is now a multi-disciplinary business strategy and management consulting firm focusing on practical and sustainable strategies in the following areas:
- HR/Talent Management Strategy
- Executive and Leadership Coaching and Training
- Career Coaching
- Digital Marketing Coaching for SMBs
- Technology Advisory Services and Strategy
- Startup Mentorship & Advisement for Women
- Brand Influencer Marketing
The funny thing about this re-branding of sorts is that this “pivot” has been evidenced in the clients I have been working with over the past three years. I just needed recognize and accept where this business journey was taking me.
What does this mean for “The Aristocracy of HR”?
You can still expect Workforce Strategy and HR talk to be the core of this blog. HR is still in my heart, but I will be opening up my topics as I have done in the past two years to cover entrepreneurship, digital marketing, data, technology and quite frankly anything else that tickles my fancy as I continue to grow and evolve.
What I really hope you all take from this is the following:
- A friend/colleague recently told me, don’t wait too late to change the direction of your business. I took this to mean that you need to have faith in the signs along the journey and clear your space to do the work you are truly called to do.
- Discomfort is really preparation for the next great thing coming your way. I have been in a state of discomfort since I started this business. I have had my share of struggles , but every consecutive year has brought more opportunity and blessings to my business than the last.
- Every day things are changing and we need to remain adaptable and ready to move when life pleasantly and unpleasantly pushes us in a new direction.
I am so excited to share all of the new and fun things going on in my corner. As a reader of this blog, you will also be able to reap the rewards- as I work to provide the next level of value for this community. I hope you will join me on this journey and I thank you for your interest in my musings and readership.
Here’s to having a successful and sweet 2016! Time to feed the beast. Stay tuned!