What do you stand for?

I’m in a reflective sort of mood. I guess it’s the new year. Something has been on my mind for a few weeks now. Towards the end of last year, I went to a seminar. The speaker asked: ‘what do you stand for?’ It didn’t resonate. Then he asked it again: ‘what do you stand for, really?’  I didn’t have an immediate answer, and that shocked me.

I know what my personal brand is all about. If you read my twitter bio it tells you that I’m into employment law, employee relations, recruitment and coaching. I’m also pretty interested in all things social media, leadership and the future of work. But these are just HR subjects in reality; these interests don’t say anything about what I stand for professionally. So I thought about it. Then I thought about it some more, and I’ve come up with a list of what as a HR professional, I believe I should stand for. I’ve also added in a few ideas about what we shouldn’t be all about.

So here goes:

  • Doing the right thing. We all have to do difficult things from time to time in order to deliver the business strategy. Sometimes we have to take difficult decisions, but when you enact these decisions, you do it in a way that gives people the most respect that you can. You can ensure that people are treated with fairness and equity.
  • Being a good leader. IMHO one of the most important things you can be. Giving people confidence, opportunities and space to grow. Providing thanks and feedback.
  • Coaching. Enabling. Making people resourceful.
  • Adding value by being the people expert (even if this does mean reading vast amounts of books on TUPE and trade unions in my case). Not being afraid to say when you don’t know you are talking about.
  • Being honest. Even if you have something not very nice to say.
  • Being at the forefront of new stuff. Being the person who is pushing for best practice, keeping the business up to date, and driving forward the people agenda. Any old excuse to spend all day on Twitter…………….

What I don’t think HR should stand for IMHO:

  • Telling, not coaching. I don’t tell you what to do, I give you advice and explain the pros and cons and the risks. I also don’t do it for you, it it’s your responsibility.
  • Processes. I’ve commented many times on HR processes in earlier blogs. If they don’t add value or enable decision making I am just not doing them. And that’s that.
  • Being a support function. If you are serious about your people, don’t ask me for support. Ask me to be your partner in achieving your strategy.

These are the things that I stand for. What are yours?