Today I want to talk about HR competition. And cooperation. It’s something that I stop to consider every so often, and I am curious if I’m the only one who really thinks about it. Here’s my thought process in a nutshell:

We as HR professionals are very collaborative. We’re cooperative. But we’re also competitive. Whether we want to admit it or not, the companies we work for are often competing for the same customers and the same dollars. In the short video below I look at the collaboration vs competition mindset we hold as HR professionals.

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While I think there’s plenty of competition to go around, I also know that there’s a collaborative aspect that we all can leverage as well. This comment by Brad Lomenick says it very well.

Question: How do you become Collaborative without Competitive?

Answer: Collaboration has to flow from a place of generosity, truly believing that a higher tide lifts all boats. Be more concerned with others. Listen instead of talk. Be interested over interesting. To be collaborative we must understand that it’s not about me. It’s not about your organization, your non profit, or your project. It’s about connecting people, not competing. Collaborators are okay sharing their wisdom, their knowledge, their connections, and their networks, because collaboration means working together alongside others. Co-laboring. Building bridges instead of constructing walls… When you have an abundance mindset you are more likely to collaborate instead of compete. Avoid the scarcity mentality – the idea that there is only so much to go around.

I know some amazing HR pros who embody the cooperative spirit. Who do you know that fits that mold? Do you have a more collaborative or competitive mindset? Why?

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  • One thought on “HR Competition or Cooperation?

    1. Ewwwwww! I couldn’t be more excited about the timing of this post! This morning I was thinking (before I saw your post) about how I’ve identified who I can call in my network of HR pros that will be excited about something or encouraging about something pertaining to my professional growth and who will pretend to be excited, snub their nose and talk smack or tear me down. I think about this a lot and there was a post about the cattiness in HR that I read once that kind of fueled this thought process. I wonder, are we tearing each other down because we are being competitive or jealous or in some cases, helpful? Ideally we would all be collaborative and lift each other up and help each other out, but reality is we are all still human. We have a natural reaction to things that sometimes isn’t pretty. We are all capable of envy and jealousy and sometimes we just have a bad day and don’t give a crap about each other. I know I’m getting off track from the post so let me re-focus. Confession: I find myself competing with you sometimes. Not an ill intended competition by any means, maybe somewhat of a “if Ben can do it, I can do it” or “if Ben did that why can’t I do that?”<– Ben, fight the urge to pick up the phone and call me to tell me what you're better at, because I have already identified what you are better at :) I think maybe I do this because we are close to the same age and came into the NASHRM scene about the same time and that we both want to validate the young voice in HR. But you also know I'd collaborate with you any day of the week on any given subject and that I'd be super excited for you in any of your professional growth. [FTR: if I thought in any way that Ben would be offended by this I wouldn’t tell him this]
      As for the staffing agencies, yep they are very competitive with each other and to be successful they have to be, there is no way around it. When staffing agencies get together and share ideas they come from all over the country to do so and they all have written agreements that they will not compete directly with each other, so it’s rare to have two agencies from the same area at one of these meetings [just in my experience]. When I was working at the mfg facility on the river I did find myself competing with other people in my HR network for talent. It didn't happen on purpose, but I found that I was recruiting candidates that worked for someone in my networks company in the same town. At that point I couldn't stop it, there were people above me making decisions that would've vetoed mine in a second and on the other hand our positions were paying $4-6/hr. more to start out than the top out pay where they were. They were flocking to me for a position and they had the talent we needed, it's not really my fault that the company I was at paid more. So I think that is more of the understanding in mfg, "we pay what we pay, if you pay more than what I'm able to pay I can't be mad at my employee for leaving me to go to you". And in the big picture world of manufacturing a lot of focus is directed towards "what’s good for the community we are in?" and that takes away some of that competitive edge. I’m rambling, like always, so I’ll leave it at that.

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