Last week at LinkedIn Talent Connect in Dallas, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with one of the other speakers about his session. Peter Sursi is a talent acquisition/HR pro working in the FBI to modernize some of their approaches to finding and keeping talent. He’s not what you might expect from a government agency: he is energetic, passionate, and forward-thinking. Yes, this is HR/career advice from the FBI, of all places!
During our conversation, we talked about what makes the difference between teams that are successful long-term when it comes to HR and which ones continue to struggle for years with being strategic, creating value for the business, etc. The quote was a powerful one:
We can’t be emotionally invested in the process. We have to be emotionally invested in the people.
The Big Takeaway
This was a light bulb moment for me. So much of the time as HR practitioners we get wrapped up in our process, our way of doing things, and our perspective on the world.
The problem with that? The business doesn’t always see HR as a requirement to getting the job done. They often see it as a nuisance or a blocker of other necessary activities. The “no” police, in other words. This negative perception even discourages people from trying to get into HR in the first place!
In this quote we see that we should flip it: be invested in the people, care about their results, think about how to help them and eliminate barriers to their success.
Don’t get caught in caring more about your process than you do about the people.
Don’t Let the Light Go Out!
So many people I talk to got into HR because they want to help people. Because they enjoy working with people. And so on. But something often happens where you stop really caring about the people and instead become clingy with your processes, tools, and requirements.
I can still remember ~10 years ago when I was early in my HR career and someone told me that my passion for the profession and the people would eventually wane. I’d stop caring so much. I’d just settle for mediocre.
Maybe it’s because I have a little redneck in me (hello from Huntsville Alabama!) but I decided then and there that I wouldn’t easily let go of that spark that drove me. It’s kept me going all this time and I don’t see it going out any time soon. I want to leave a legacy with my HR career, and I want you to do the same.
What about your spark? Is it still going strong? Do you need to relight it and refocus on why you got started in this profession in the first place? Whether you chose it or you fell into it by accident, you’re here now and it’s up to each of us to make sure we don’t turn into the crusty old HR lady that cares more about process than people.
I’ll hold you accountable if you’ll do the same for me. Deal?