It seems timely with R U OK? Day on the 8th of September to take some time to talk about our HR community and how we best look out for each other. I spend a lot of my time talking to HR professionals, from all walks of life and industries. We are so busy looking after everyone else, that we often forget to look after ourselves. Whilst we need to pause and take breath more often, R U OK? Day provides the perfect reminder to pause, reflect and ask your HR colleagues if they are ok.
The last 2 and a half years have been stressful to say the least. As organisations looked to their HR team to support the business and the workforce – it was rare, in my experience, for anyone to make sure the HR team were doing ok as well. It can be a thankless, challenging, and relentless role in any organisation.
As I was thinking through what to write and what might be helpful to the HR community, it struck me that perhaps now was not the time to give my advice, suggestions, recommendations, or as I can sometimes do, get on my soap box about how HR can also take steps to help themselves.
Today, it is important that we just pause. We take the time to listen, to check in with each other and our teams. We would all benefit from doing this a lot more often than we do and not just one day a year.
In the workplace, and especially as HR consultants, we are often expected to be somewhat superhuman; live the values, be a role model for the culture and behaviours we expect of our workforce – both leaders and employees, keep tabs on how others are feeling/performing/engaging. But we can all have bad days; we can all have things going on in our lives that others don’t know about. Life can be challenging, and it is not possible to always separate this from our work-selves.
Sometimes this leads to ‘odd’ behaviours, bad moods, grumpiness, low tolerance of others, frustration, and a huge variety of ‘out of character’ behaviours. These are all characteristics and behaviours I know I have exhibited many times when under stress or pressure. People who know me well, know this and understand, people who don’t, I suspect think something very different.
So today and throughout the year, let’s stop, pause, listen, and show empathy. If you are CEO, executive or just someone who works closely with an HR partner – ask them if they are OK. Don’t try and solve their problem (unless they ask for your help). Listen with genuine care and curiosity, do not judge and let’s show our HR teams that we care about them too.