The Project Mail Bag

One of the great by products of writing an HR blog is I get people contacting me who now believe I know what I’m talking about, when it comes to HR topics.  Before I started writing – I was an idiot in HR who didn’t know anything. After you write for a while I’ve become a ‘Subject Matter Expert’ – so people ask me stuff.  It’s funny how that works!  Its like going to work for a really cool company – everyone wants to hear you speak.  A year ago I was at ABC Dog Food Co. and now conference in America would accept me to speak.  Now I have a job at Google – and people are calling me begging me to speak and offering to pay me!  Same person, same knowledge – now with new branding!?

The questions coming from readers are cool – because I feel the pain from the HR and Talent Pros who pose them.  I’ve been there – I have a least one or two things they can try – many times we end up going back and forth and coming up with something neither one of us thought of!  I wanted to share some of those questions and interactions – because quite frankly most are better than anything I could write to begin with.

Question:

From Mary – HR Pro in Eastern Pennsylvania, at a mid-sized Manufacturing company –

“Dear Tim (starts off like a Casey Kasem long distance dedication doesn’t it!) –

I can’t stand the people I work with in HR.  We have a small team – 5 people – who have all been here for at least 3 years – and they don’t want to change anything.  I just graduated with my degree in HR and couldn’t wait to get started – and now I feel like I’ve made the wrong career choice. How can I get the HR team to try new things!?”

My response:

“Dear Mary (she started it!) –

Quit.  Send your resume to Google – I hear great things about their HR program, apparently, they do HR way different than everyone else.  Kidding – don’t quit!

People only change when they are forced to (which you don’t have authority) or they see ‘major’ benefit in it for themselves.  So you have to find one of these two ways to entice your team to want to try new things.  First way (assuming one road block is your actual leader in HR) – make friends outside of HR and find their pain points, things they need better or changed.  In most organizations – those outside of HR have more influence – getting them pushing for change, will force HR to react.  Since you’ll be shaping that from outside of HR – you can start to drive the change you want to see inside of HR.   Your HR peers will see you trying to talk with those outside your HR Departments locked doors – be vigilant – don’t let them stop you – make friends outside of HR!  Second way – come up with ideas that make your HR peers look really smart, helpful and at the same time they get to do less work.  This is harder!  But if you are willing to give credit to them, for your ideas, you might trick them into changing some stuff.  Be sneaky good.

You are not going to change the culture within your HR team.  Culture always wins.  You are new.  Within 6 months – you’ll think the exact same way they do, unless you do stuff really different – without embarrassing them, or pissing them off.  Manage up to your HR leader.  Stay positive and helpful.  Keep a constant pressure on moving your ideas forward in ways that doesn’t cost your team to do more work, or cost more resources.

If that fails – join Google.

T.”

 

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