Posted by: Professionals In Human Resources Association (PIHRA) | March 6, 2012

Doesn’t HR Deserve to Be Engaged Too?

Doesn’t HR Deserve to Be Engaged Too?

By Martha Finney

If you have been following my work for the last 20 years or so, you know that I’m probably the planet’s biggest HR groupie/geek out there. Maybe you’ve read my book HR From the Heart, which I co-authored with Libby Sartain. Or you saw my article, “Why I Love HR,” which I wrote in response to Fast Company’s nasty gram a few summers ago. Or I’ve interviewed you. Or you’ve attended one of my speeches celebrating HR. I love HR. So, you’ll know that I say this with deep respect and abiding affection: HR deserves more respect than it gets!

I just have to ask: Don’t you deserve to be engaged too?

After all, engagement initiatives usually come out of your budget. You work hard to measure and then improve your employees’ experience on the job – thereby improving their performance and productivity on the job. But what about your own experience at work?  In the theory that you can’t give what you don’t already have yourself, you deserve to be among the most engaged people in your organization! Are you?

Here’s a way to find out.

Whatever set of questions that you use to measure engagement in your organization, you might do well to take a notebook and sit down with those questions on your own. A good, solitary project for personal discovery. And I would like to offer these additional questions for you to consider as well:

  • Does my department typically get the credit or only the blame?
  • Does my boss understand the value proposition of HR and broadcast that appreciation throughout the organization?
  • Does my boss model what respectful treatment looks like when working with anyone on the HR staff?
  • Do all the company’s leaders genuinely like, trust and respect our people throughout the organization?
  • Is the HR department empowered to say a creative, collaborative “yes” to leadership and individual contributors alike more than it is forced to say a rigid, regimented, automatic “no?”
  • Does my company’s leadership recognize that an essential part of being pro-business is being pro-people at every reasonable opportunity?
  • Is the HR department equipped to follow through on its stated commitment of service to its people regardless of what the external market or business factors might be?
  • Do I believe in my company’s mission? Am I proud of its products and/or service offerings?
  • Do I trust my boss? And does my boss respect me as an individual?
  • Am I proud of all my company’s standards and expectations? Do they inspire me to do my best work? Do they allow me to do my best work?

HR has always been a high-pressure corporate function, often put in the impossible position of representing opposing sides with the mandate to be acceptable and respectable in the eyes of all your constituents. It’s not going to get any easier for you in upcoming years as business will be feeling increased pressure to address societal, national and even global human challenges while you’re struggling to keep the enterprise prosperous. If you already think that you’re being asked to be all things to all people, just wait…it’s only going to get harder.

You’re going to need all the stamina and clear directions you can gather to pilot your business through an extraordinarily challenging time in the world. What would you say to an employee facing a similarly daunting future? Probably something along these lines:

“Take care of yourself first.”

Same goes for you, too.

Question: How do you feel about the way your company culture supports and promotes the HR function?


Martha Finney is an employee engagement consultant, speaker and creator of the CareerLandscapes team-building workshop.  She is also the author of The Truth About Getting the Best From People and co-author (with Libby Sartain) of HR From the Heart. This article was originally published on the website HR Career Success; reprinted with permission.  For more information, contact


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: