3 Areas that HR Pros Should Never Take for Granted

woman-in-grey-jacket-sits-on-bed-uses-grey-laptop-935743 (1)It’s true what they say — a company is only as good as its people. It is successful because of the hard work of the employees. It is respected because the people that are in its ranks command respect. If the company wants to last long, then it really should invest in its people.

Human resource management is here to take care of the heart of every organization. The people that work for HR make sure that the company’s workforce is well taken care of in every way possible. HR professionals have many responsibilities, such as taking care of compensation, and planning employee engagement activities. 

But there are less talked about HR areas that modern professionals shouldn’t overlook. More than just assistance with their w2 form for taxation and their annual summer outings, employees also need help in ensuring their well-being, resilience, and coaching/learning capacities. Here are some areas of opportunity where you can support employees that in turn support the growth of the company.

Well-Being and Wellness 

A person’s needs do not change whether they are at home or in the workplace. We all want to be safe and our sanity kept intact. No one wants to work in fear or under constant stress. Because of this, HR should always be at the forefront in ensuring that the work environment in their company does not become toxic. They should watch out for signs of toxicity such as bullying, gender- or sex-based discrimination, and power tripping (such as when seniors make juniors do their tasks just  because they can). 

The last thing that HR will want to do is assume that such issues cannot happen in their companies. The above issues are tendencies observed in many contexts across cultures. Clear policies regarding these things should be made and communicated to all employees, including the bosses.


Just because HR works to keep employees from harm doesn’t mean that they should just brush aside the fact that challenges are constantly present. Employees should also be supported in such a way that their resilience to challenges and adversity is significantly improved. 

There are negative events and outcomes that are beyond anyone’s control. Take the COVID-19 pandemic as an example. This global phenomenon has affected lives in significant ways. Without resilience, anyone will easily succumb to the pressure that this brings. HR can address resilience issues by organizing programs that help promote mental health. At the very least, HR should communicate in convincing ways that they care about the workers’ welfare. When in a pandemic, HR in coordination with management can relax the pressure on reaching pre-determined goals for all employees during a stressful time.

Coaching and Learning

Many companies invest a significant amount of resources in employee training. They send their employees to seminars and conventions within the locality or even overseas just to get the latest news in their respective niches. This is great, and there is no reason for this to stop. Learning, after all, is the cornerstone of growth.

But sometimes, HR forgets that trainers and managers who are knowledgeable about certain topics should also be trained on how to share their knowledge effectively to others. Great workers and learners are not always the best teachers. To ensure the effective transfer of knowledge, HR pros can make sure that communication channels are always free from all forms of obstructions, including incompetence on both sides of the communication flow.

Making sure that workers function at their best in the workplace is at the heart of the HR profession. All professionals who choose this path shouldn’t leave any stone unturned in their efforts to improve their company’s workforce.

A Lesson in Crisis Management


Businesses should be properly prepared for any eventuality, be it a natural disaster or a pandemic like the one we are experiencing now. But aside from ensuring all capital assets are secured, companies have a legal and moral responsibility to take care of their employees in times of trouble.

Indeed, when things get out of hand, it is your employees who will be feeling the brunt. Their health and welfare will certainly be on the line. That said, you have to do everything you can to support them.

During the rough times ahead, it’s important for the HR Department to keep running in order to address employee concerns in the most efficient way possible.

Here are a few things you will need to keep in mind: Continue reading

Bringing HR Together: Announcing HR Summer School #hrsummerschool

HR Summer School
In the middle of the strange state we are in right now, one thing is certain: HR conferences are out. Of the 10 speaking events at spring conferences, internal training events, and workshops I was scheduled to attend, four of them were canceled, four of them “postponed,” and the other two were moved to virtual. Our family is definitely feeling this challenging time along with the rest of you.

If you were planning on getting recertification credits or building your professional network at an event this month, you may be out of luck.

To compound that issue, I’ve seen posts from friends (and even a new Slack community sprouting up) that have been furloughed, laid off, or outright terminated because of the current economic standstill.

So I decided to reach out to some friends and colleagues in the industry to do something about it. I’d like to introduce you to HR Summer School. This is a free, virtual HR event designed to bring us closer together while improving our skills as talent leaders.

HR Summer School: The Details

This event is something I’ve been thinking about for some time, but the issues facing our various communities right now have pushed it urgently to the forefront. The goal is to not only drop a bunch of content on you, but recreate the opportunity to connect with and engage with both speakers and other attendees throughout the event.

Tickets are free! Anyone can come, whether it be an HR pro, a small business owner looking for HR help, or even students that need some practical understanding of HR in the real world.

This event will be livestreamed the week of June 1st daily from 10a-2:30p central time. That’s a lot of content, but if you register for the main event you can attend any session you want during the conference at your leisure. Simply come and go for the sessions that matter most to you. More details on sessions and speakers will be shared in the next few days.

We will have over 30 speakers sharing their insights around:

  • recruiting
  • training
  • inclusion and diversity
  • talent management
  • leadership development
  • managing teams
  • coaching and mentoring
  • wellness and wellbeing
  • resilience
  • and more!

In addition, we will be hosting daily trivia competitions to add to the “fun factor,” courtesy of our friends at Water Cooler Trivia.

We have several amazing supporters already lined up for the event, but we are accepting a few more sponsors and partners if anyone is interested in coming alongside our team for this community event.

Giving back: Can you help?

I have a request. We are doing this event for free, but our hope is that it will be the largest online HR summit ever. Now is the time to pull together and support each other.

The event link is HRSummerSchool.org

If you are an educator, share this with your students, but also share it with your peers so they can share with their students as well.

If you are an HR practitioner, share this with 2-3 friends you think could benefit from the latest thinking on the topics listed above. Or share it with all of them, we don’t mind.

If you are a SHRM chapter or association leader, share this with your members as a free resource or benefit.

Heck, even if you’re just married to someone in HR, make sure they register and share as well! :-)

At the time of this writing, we already have over 100 people registered to attend and the event hadn’t even been formally announced yet! There’s clearly a need for quality education and connection right now.

Questions? Please feel free to reach out to me at any time. I’m honored to support HR leaders like you in this time.

Why Business Insurance is Important

Are you a business owner and wondering why you have to pay for insurance? Even if you own a small business, it’s always a better idea to have insurance than not. It “protects you from the things you couldn’t possibly predict,” state the experts at https://www.brokerlink.ca/insurance/business

Insurance is always a valuable investment to provide coverage when times get tough, or there’s an unexpected accident with a customer or employee. We’re going to go over some reasons why having business insurance is essential.  Continue reading

81: Rethinking Work, Productivity, and Engagement in the Modern Workplace

“People don’t want flexibility. they want complete control over their time.”

Today, we keep hearing that flexible work is the way to go. People want it. They crave it.

Yet in today’s episode of We’re Only Human, Ben talks with Jody Thompson, creator of the ROWE movement. ROWE stands for “results only work environment,” and it has been around for some time (the first book, Why Work Sucks, was published in 2008).

Today the workplace looks different than it did then, but according to Thompson, employers are still chasing the wrong things. We’re looking at when work gets done and where work gets done, but we’re not focusing enough on the what in terms of results.

That lack of focus on the right things sometimes forces our people to fight for control over their work. How? By looking for workarounds, playing the “I’m busy” game, arriving early or staying late, and more. Instead of looking at managers as controlling figures, we should look at them as performance coaches. Expect to explore all of this and more in today’s conversation. Enjoy!

Learn more about Jody and ROWE at: https://www.gorowe.com/resource-library


What I Should Have Said

I lost a friend recently.

He was a great guy who was always willing to help those around him, regardless of his own needs. Selfless. Kind. Compassionate.

I had a phone conversation with him a few months back. We lived in different states and mostly stayed in touch online, but I gave him a call and we talked for over an hour about work, life, family, and more. In the conversation, he recommended a movie that he loved called Green Book.

When he passed, I realized that I hadn’t made time to watch the movie yet, so this weekend I carved out some time to enjoy it with my wife. It was a great movie, and every time I saw someone on screen standing up to do the right thing, I thought of my friend and the impact he had in his time on the earth.

When people make mistakes in life, you can either choose to vilify them and write them off or you can choose to believe in the goodness of people and that they still have value. He was in the latter camp, and I am so thankful that I had a chance to see him in person several times over the course of the last 10 years. He was quick to smile and always had a kind word or compliment to share with those around him.

We never know how much time we have with those we love, whether they be friends or family. In the midst of all this chaos swirling around us, I have implored each of us to be kind to those around us, but it’s easy to lose focus when things are out of what feels like their natural rhythm.

I’m resolving to say what I should have said this week. Not in a backbiting or angry way, but in a way that would honor the memory of my friend, Chris Fields. When I talk with someone, anyone, this week, I’m going to say what I should have said but held back, whether that is “I’m sorry,” “I love you,” or “thank you for who you are.”

Chris, we will miss you. Thank you for making us all better just by being here.

WOH 80: 11+ Ideas to Engage and Support Your Remote Teams

In recent weeks the podcast has covered critical topics like the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and how HR technology providers are supporting businesses during this time. Today, we’re going to take a step toward engaging those workers that are working remotely, many of them doing so for the first time. 

In this solo episode, Ben covers 11+ ways HR leaders and line managers can support and engage their workers, from simple concepts like one on one’s to more complex ideas for how to run company all hands briefings. Working remotely may be a challenge right now, but for those workers that enjoy the experience and want to remain remote after the COVID-19 scare is over, managers will need new tools and ideas to help them support workers they can’t see on a daily basis. 

If you have your own ideas to add to the list, please send them to ben@upstarthr.com and we’ll add them to the show notes here. Thanks!