When I was first asked to contribute to this blog, I was really excited and flattered … And then when I was told that the theme was “What HR Means to Me”, I was kind of disappointed and apprehensive.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great question. I’m just not sure whether my answer will be all that satisfying.
You see, after carefully deliberating over the question, I’ve come up with this brilliant gem: “HR is a means to an end”.
I told you it would be disappointing.
You see, some days – HR is just a job that pays me bi-weekly so that I can ensure my kids’ have straight teeth and to support my Young Adult book habit. A means to an end.
However, when I’m not being so pragmatic … and I am focused on what HR can do … I still see it as a means to an end.
HR is not a philosophy, it is not a way of life…there isn’t even an HR adjective. Like in Finance…you can have a “financial” report or in operations, you can have an “operational” budget. In HR …there isn’t a “Human Resourceful” plan of action.
But this is exactly why I like HR. It’s solid. It’s composed of so many parts – there are so many tools at your disposal. You aren’t limited to thinking in only way and in fact, if you are doing good HR, then you are definitely not limiting yourself.
I am the HR person who believes in working towards a balance between employee needs and business needs. I believe in consistency among procedures and fairness in how people are treated (but fair does not means equal). I believe in transparency, as much as can be achieved. I believe in accountability, responsibility, and maturity. Working in HR can help achieve these.
Based on these beliefs, it’s amazing that I’m still in HR. Really it sounds like I’m practicing a speech for the next Ms. Universe pageant … Do they still have those? Am I too old for Toddlers and Tiaras?
I may not be the person you want to go to if you need a shoulder to cry on. I will play devil’s advocate – regardless of what side of the table the devil is sitting on that day. I won’t necessarily tell you what you want to hear, but rather what you need to hear. I am sarcastic, I do not like small talk, I support social media, and would prefer one-on-one to social gatherings.
My friends actually laughed when I told them I was going into HR. Nice.
HR means not taking yourself so damn seriously. It’s okay to laugh and swear, and for pete’s sake stop whining about not having a seat at the table. It’s embarrassing. Just do good work and let it speak for itself.
You know what strategic HR is? It’s aligning your HR programs and initiatives with those of your organization. That’s why HR is a means to an end. It has the potential to branch out and get its strategic little tentacles in every part of the
business. Oh yes, we have our ways…
To call HR a minefield is absolutely appropriate on so many levels…it’s touchy, it’s feely, it has you walking on your toes some days, and others…you just march out there and say WTF…and when you manage to get to the other side with all your limbs intact, it’s a very rewarding feeling.
And this is what HR means to me.
Julie is a late-blooming HR practitioner located in Canada and the creative genius author of the blog Accidental HR. She is also a proud Certified Human Resource Professional (CHRP) and member of the HRPA in Ontario and her local chapter.
Her experience as a generalist over the past five years (in additional to the many non-HR years) has provided her with great opportunities to see and learn from the good, the bad, and the ugly of HR. She is a big believer in personal accountability and the concept of “paying it forward”. She loves the opportunity to talk to students and new grads about transitioning into the work world.
Outside of HR, Julie’s priorities in life are raising her three adolescents (13, 17, and 42), ensuring she is adequately prepared for a zombie apocalypse (with the help of The Walking Dead), and consuming books, blogs, dark chocolate, and red wine (preferably all at the same time).
Feel free to follow Julie on Twitter @jawaddell or through her blog Accidental HR.
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