In Mid-November of 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers better known as Pilgrims finally hit the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts after 65 grueling days of travel at sea. They were back an forth from the first fort and the Mayflower for living and sleeping. Finally, they settled at Burial Hill and created what was the first colony.
The turbulent seas were not the end to their difficult journey. They had to make it through a rough winter- in which a good bit of their fellow Pilgrims were lost due to poor nutrition and the fierce cold. Their luck began to change when they were met with an English-speaking Native American from the Pawtuxet tribe named Tisquantum or Squanto as they called him.
Meeting Squanto was the key to their existence as he taught them how to plant their first crop of corn, fish, and hunt for various animals. This in turn lead to what we now know as the First Thanksgiving and has subsequently led to what we celebrate as a national holiday the fourth Thursday of every November.
There’s your history lesson and here is the HR lesson. We are the Native Americans (that is HR) and our employees/internal clients are the Pilgrims. The colony is the world of work and we all have a vested interest in seeing that it thrives and succeeds. The issue is the key to its success depends on our squanto-like abilities to help our internal clients plant and nurture their crops. It depends on our ability to help them navigate the hunt for talent, resources and new ways of doing business. If we the Native Americans of the World of Work are unable to provide the solutions and foundation for our Pilgrims-the colony dies and the harvest is dead. No one feasts. It’s just famine.
For some of our Pilgrims the art of managing, developing and retaining talent to the end that the business is a success is the new world. It is unchartered territory. We have to be ready when our Pilgrims get off the Mayflower with plans, solutions, or at the very least an ability to reason through employee concerns and issues to relish in our thanksgiving.
If we fail at any of this no one is inviting us to the table. There’s no seat, no bench, no reason for the Pilgrims to thank the heavens for our presence.
Moral of the story: Channel your inner Squanto and be an indispensable resource to the companies and businesses you serve. Provide the crop and show your leaders and internal clients how to grow and nurture it. Well-planted crops lead to plentiful harvests and plentiful harvests mean everyone eats. Anyone hungry?
It would only be fair to share that Native American and Pilgrim relations went awry after that First Thanksgiving. Even then they could have used HR to manage their employee relations.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!