Twelve Things I’ve Learned: The Importance of HR

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    HR is full of different roles and responsibilities and there are a ton of buzzwords that we love to throw around in organizations. We also love to use creative titles for people and the importance of HR. Companies do this for a variety of reasons but mostly is a marketing campaign. We need some good marketing in HR, but we also need to realize the best marketing is providing a service that people want and need. Results happen and a key to HR success is tying all that activity we do to business impact. Below are some of the lessons I was reminded of this year tied to the importance of HR and what we do. There are a few buzzwords and rhymes thrown in for fun.

    Lesson Eight

    Ask don’t Tell. Guide don’t Provide. A key part of the job for an HR professional in the trenches is coaching. We handle scenarios and issues from managers and employees at all levels. For many mid-level HR professionals, this may take up 90% or more of their workload. Coaching in the HR world is the epitome of the old proverb, Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime. It would be so much easier to give the man the fish. It would take less time to just give them the answer. But if you keep giving them the fish, they will keep coming back for the answer.

    Lesson Nine

    Synergy is the Key. Oh, synergy is one of my favorite buzzwords. While there are those who advise removing it from the language of the corporation, the message is still important. The different people, departments, units, areas and however else you lump them together groups in organizations need to be working toward the same goal. And the culture in the organization must support this. This is one of those things that we all already know. We all know it is good, but how do we live it? How does it become part of the everyday? How do we make people feel comfortable enough, safe enough to share what they are working on with others to ensure alignment with the bigger picture? I have seen it over and over. Everyone attends those meetings (you know the team ones to help us all be synergistic) and as soon as the attendees are out of the room, they are already thinking, “Enough of this BS, I need to get back to work.” They aren’t comfortable enough to share anything of real significance in the meeting because they are fearful that someone won’t agree or they are trying to avoid an argument. If you want alignment, build a culture of acceptance and questioning without the erosion of self-esteem.

    Lesson Ten

    The newest technology isn’t always what you need to fix your problems. New technology is fun. It can be a great time saver. Especially for those of us in HR responsible for the administrative work as well as the strategic stuff. If I could only automate this, I would have so much more time to work on the important stuff. However, be cautious. As mentioned in some of the earlier lessons, change is hard. New stuff takes time to learn and in the beginning, it will likely cause a decrease in performance. Will the savings be worth the cost? Does it make sense for your organization? You have to figure that out first. Start with the analysis. What do you want to accomplish with the change? is a great question to start with. (Analysis should be a lesson on its own; I believe it is a very often missed step.)

    Go ahead and share your lessons and check back in a few days for the conclusion of this series.

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    Sheri Mazurek is a training and human resource professional with over 16 years of management experience, and is skilled in all areas of employee management and human resource functions, with a specialty in learning and development. She is available to help you with your Human Resources and Training needs on a contract basis. For more information send an email to or visit Follow me on Twitter @Sherimaz.