It’s easy to remember the bad boss. The person who didn’t give you feedback or coaching. The leader who wouldn’t engage in ongoing conversations or feedback because she was too busy with her own job to stop and spend time recognizing good performance in the trenches.
I’ve had that boss.
Early in my career, I worked as a recruiter in a bustling HR department. I reported to a woman who was super-focused on managing up to our CHRO and didn’t remember to lead and motivate her stable of talented and earnest HR professionals. One by one, people started to quit
The first person to leave was Amy. She was a benefits supervisor who spoke three languages and wanted to pursue her MBA. I remember how Amy stepped out of her comfort zone and challenged herself to pursue projects beyond her area of expertise. She said “yes” when she clearly could have said “no.” When Amy left our team, I immediately missed her friendship and camaraderie.
Then it was Kevin’s turn to say goodbye. He was an older gentleman who had been with the company forever. Kevin was an organizational design expert, and he carried himself with a sense of purpose. The great thing about Kevin is that he didn’t take himself too seriously and was initially happy to report to a younger leader without letting his ego get too bruised. When he resigned from our team to pursue other opportunities, I felt lost and confused.
That’s when I started looking for a job. As a recruiter, my job was to fill open requisitions. When my HR department became a revolving door for talent, it was a sign that the culture was broken. It was also an early lesson that the mood of my local HR department was a bellwether for what was happening in my organization. If I didn’t like my job, why would anybody want to work for my company?
It’s all too common for the shoemaker’s children to go barefoot, but in the case of HR, it’s crucial that we avoid the trap of “being too busy” and embrace the values of coaching and recognition. Ongoing conversations about performance and accomplishments aren’t just useful strategies for your customers and colleagues in other business units. It’s good for HR, too.
As much as we want our businesses to succeed, we must realize that companies can’t be successful without happy and engaged HR professionals. So if you’re an HR leader who stays up late worrying about retention at your organization as well as your own department, take note. It’s time to invest in tools and training to create a culture where feedback leads to recognition and constructive conversations.
I firmly believe that the only way to retain someone is to reinvest time and energy in their life. I wish my old boss had thought I was worthy of an investment, and I wish my career goals and accomplishments mattered as much as her relationship with the CHRO. That job could have been great.
My Job Could Have Been Great @lruettimann #workhuman
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