I’ve been reading a lot about culture at work recently, and I have to say that I’m intrigued. Before my current job, I would never have thought that it made much of a difference, but now that I have seen the benefits of a solid, positive corporate culture, I am convinced of the value it brings to the organization.
If someone tells you that culture doesn’t matter, they probably don’t have a good one.
- Instead of being treated like a child or a criminal where each movement is tracked and must be given a specific reason, I now have the freedom to come and go pretty much whenever I please (as long as I get the job done).
- I have never laughed so much in my entire working life as I did in an HR department meeting a while back. Do you ever laugh in meetings? I hope so, because it’s a heck of a lot of fun.
- At any time I can walk into my supervisor’s office, sit down, and tell her anything at all. While we have fun together most of the time, we also share some serious moments that impact my career and the business. I love the wild changes in tone. I’m definitely someone who needs to laugh at work, and she is happy to oblige!
- I can talk about zombies whenever I want.
These are just a few examples (and looking back, most of them are about humor–interesting) of what my work life is like and how it is different from my previous jobs. But I absolutely love it, and there’s so much room for growth and improvement on my part. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
VHRG and Leadership
I don\’t know if you\’re a regular reader or not, but Venting HR Guy is a funny human resources blog that showcases some of the daily events we all face. The difference is that VHRG can be a little more forthcoming in detailing his workday, because his identity is a secret. It makes for an interesting blog, that\’s for sure.
Anyway, VHRG often has issues that he tries to deal with at work. However, the response from his boss, known by the clever name â€œThe Boss,â€ is often to side with the employee for some reason. Have an employee getting payroll advances several times a month for more than a year? Instead of cutting the guy off, VHRG will probably be forced by The Boss to give into the demands of the financially moronic employee. And that’s just one example.
While you might not have that specific problem, I\’m pretty sure that plenty of you have seen this in your own workplace (and if not, count yourself lucky!). You want to handle a situation that is within your realm of influence, but someone upstream gets word of the issue and wants to handle it a different way. How in the world can HR be taken seriously if they\’re constantly hamstrung and second-guessed by senior leadership?
That\’s why I think VHRG needs some leadership. He needs a change. He is already looking for a new job, and I know that many of us would love to help, but with the whole â€œcloak of anonymityâ€ he has going on, it\’s a bit tough to do. If you have suggestions for how he can deal with his spineless leaders, please drop them in the comments below. I\’m going to collect and pass them along to him.
In contrast to VHRG’s leadership problems, I spoke to a friend recently who was looking for a new job. She was ready to move on from her current position, and she had her eye on several positions. Then a new leader was brought into the organization, and it’s been amazing to see the change. She’s more positive, excited about her work, and the “leaving” part has completely been pushed out of her mind. It’s amazing to see what positive leadership does, but it’s also sad to see what happens when that leadership is absent, which is what’s going on in VHRG’s situation.
I\’m not picking on my pal here; I just know that there are lots of other HR professionals who have the same issue, and they know that their â€œleadersâ€ won\’t back them up when a tough issue comes along. And if you have any tips on how he can move into another job, please post them in the comments, too. Every little bit helps, and the HR community is well-known for its helpfulness!
The current politically correct environment has successfully dampened the emergence of ersatz leadership; only those willing to take the heat for decisions (shall we call them “leaders?”) will remain standing, somewhat bloodied, but profoundly unbowed.
@Ken Bloodied, but not beaten. Well said!
@April Great comment! It truly is amazing to see the difference in a great leader and a shoddy one. I’m glad you’ve had that experience, because it teaches you so much more than existing under the same type (whether good or bad) for years without changing.
What makes HR a strategic partner at my workplace? We have a highly respected executive on the senior team. She doesnt back down when she’s right, she knows the business and what HR needs to do further the plan and she’s proven that if things are done in partnership with HR it flows smoother. I wouldn\’t trade working for this HR team for any other.
That said, we had two leaders in my local office that were less than stellar. We lost many good employees because they just couldn’t handle the poor communication and poor leadership. They almost lost me. But, like a shining light of change in came our Center Director. That man could lead a cat out of a wet paper sack. In the past month we’ve had a complete turn around in culture and morale.(blog hijack! go see my post on the formula for success for details) I think the employees were desperate for a change and seeing someone make sweeping changes and back up what he said made all the difference. As things stand today, with an excellent leader in my office and an HR team to rival all others, they’ll have to pry my cold dead body out of here to get rid of me.
All that to say this, a good culture if vital to continued success. Support and buy-in from your leadership team is vital to the success of HR. If you don\’t have it and you\’ve pulled your hair out trying to make change yourself, brush up that resume.
The way you were talking real quietly reminded me of Toby from The Office.
Rock the HR bro.
You nailed it. Company culture is what makes or breaks the work day for the employee (at ANY level). We advocate building cultures of appreciation. Who wouldn’t want to work at a company where people notice how hard you work and thank you for it? Wally Bock had a couple of great posts on this, highlighting the culture breakdown at Home Depot and Delta Airlines, summarized here: http://globoforce.blogspot.com/2009/07/are-you-watering-your-culture-tree_08.html