Calling ALL leaders! I need your attention. CEOs, Presidents, CFOs, COOs, if you have not already, please take the time this week to show your appreciation to your HR leader and their teams. From the countless conversations I have had, I know that these fantastic HR professionals have rallied their teams to do an insurmountable and unimaginable amount of work in a short period of time. It is truly quite remarkable.
There is no doubt the past several weeks have been absolutely heart-wrenching, painstaking, terribly sad, and quite depressing in more ways than I care to focus on. I do believe and know that we will get through this, banding together, supporting each other, and rising together.
With all that weighs heavy on my heart, there is a group of professionals that I have been thinking about non-stop since COVID reared its ugly head. Those people are my people, my friends, and fellow HR leaders.
Having spent 15 years in corporate Human Resources myself, I will always be an advocate and a voice for a strong HR team.
I cannot tell you how many conversations and meetings I have over the past several weeks, where HR leaders are spending countless hours, literally around the clock, supporting their employees and companies—from developing employee response plans, strategizing a cadence of communications in partnership with leadership, scenario planning, reviewing policies, re-evaluating how work is done via work-from-home, responding to health and wellness questions, to the most dreadful aspect of HR which includes any form of employee impact. Yes, we HR professionals understand when these decisions must be made, and all other options have been exhausted, but that does not make the delivery of such news any easier. Whether faced with position eliminations, layoffs, furloughs, salary reductions, no merits, no 401k match, no promotions, or even the unimaginable, a company closure…it is all hard.
These types of conversations are tough, dark, and many of my fellow colleagues don’t sleep leading up to the delivery of such news. I know because I have been there. I want you all to know it stinks BIG time for HR too. I am not saying it does not stink even more for those on the receiving end, but remember, the HR function is comprised of people, not robots. They are also employees. So, not only are they delivering and supporting the aftermath of such events and communications, but they are a part of them as well, being impacted in many of the same ways.
So, whether you have been in HR or not, my hope is that you become a cheerleader for HR! That you are seeing how your HR team steps up in ways you had never imagined. I KNOW most HR leaders’ number one concern is the people. If you are finding this hard to believe, believe it, I have lived it.
Do me a favor, if you have reached out to HR during these trying times with a question or concern and they have responded and helped you out, reach back out and let them know how much you appreciate them. It will go a long way, and they do not hear it enough!
My belief remains that HR is the heartbeat of an organization. With the right HR leaders and teams, even difficult messages and trying times turn into incredible opportunities. A strong HR team at the table will be even more critical on the other side of this than it has been in the past. So, go ahead, you have my permission, send your favorite HR person a virtual hug…social distancing style!