‘hr lady’ – but not really

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‘hr lady’ – but not really

May 4, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

I get apprehensive in public when strangers ask me what I do. When I am not at work, I am more introverted and I enjoy observing human interaction. I am a behavioral scientist at heart – passionate about organizational psychology and human performance.  Although my off-duty wish is to avoid communicating with chatty networkers, it is usually inevitable that we end up talking.  When that happens, I think quietly of alternate professions I should say when I answer…yoga instructor, professional chef, brain surgeon.  The problem is, I don’t lie well.  So, I take a deep breath and I tell the truth.  “Me?  I work in Human Resources.”  And then I quickly try to deflect the conversation to the weather or some other innocuous topic.

Then, just when there is a lull in our shallow dialogue – my new acquaintance dives deep into a story about how awful a company treated her, her significant other, or friend.  Then for what feels like eternity, she drills me with questions, “My manager did this…can they DO that??”,“is it LEGAL for a company to…” blah. blah. blah.  I am not kidding when I say – this has happens to me more often than not.  [Now you get why I wish I could say I’m a brain surgeon.]  Although I know employment laws at a depth necessary to do my job effectively and keep my senior level certification, I am not an employment attorney.

All these legal questions make me wonder what people really think “Human Resources” people do?  Then I review my career and realize why there is confusion.  I have wore many hats as a senior HR generalist: employer brand evangelist, talent recruiter, policy maker and enforcer, complaint department, welcome wagon, and terminator.  At one company, there was actually a guy who yelled “HR on the floor” when I walked into the call center.  Underlying his announcement, he was telling co-workers the “HR Lady” was present and they better look busy, be serious and have no fun. It was kind of an inside joke he and I had.

People who have worked with me know that I am an approachable, caring woman who is passionate about people.  I appreciate the uniqueness of every individual.  I am not a police officer whose job is to make yours miserable. I am not a nun who can’t hear a good joke or doesn’t have a sense of humor.  I am a talent professional and a performance coach.  I care deeply that you are, or aren’t, using your talents, skills and abilities in work that you enjoy.  As we all know, we spend a majority of our lives working.  My belief is that we should apply our talents in work that connects us to our core human desire – to make a difference in the lives of others.  Our work lives should be purposeful, satisfying and the time we spend working should matter. People Matter.

I am an advocate for the talented human beings that make up businesses.  I help leaders translate business strategy/vision/direction down organizations through people managers resulting in tactical actions employees take.  I bridge two usually disparate perspectives (employees and executives) and work to find ways to get everyone in sync and positively driving human performance. I earned my chair at the table with business leaders in order to influence their behaviors and decisions about people.  I remind them that the talented humans in their business are key assets – human capital.  And that their employees’ behaviors determine process, productivity and ultimately – profits.

I have listened to hundreds of employees coupled with the perspectives of leaders and executives throughout my career.  At the heart of business, everyone wants the same thing – to be successful and to make money.  But, not everyone is on the same page about how that should happen.  I have decided it is time for me to use my talents and publicly share my observations and insights in order to help leaders and their businesses flourish.  In future blogs, I will explore human perspectives about talent, motivation, productivity and money.

Cindy Goyette, SPHR – Maximizing Human Capital, Inc. 2013

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