Putting the ‘Humanity’ back in ‘Human’ Resources (Us)

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Published:  February 16, 2016, Copyright (c) Sandy Elrick

I have the fortune of knowing many good people.  Most notably, within the IT community, (as affected by the Oil & Gas economics as it is by businesses transforming the sector from a career path to a career walk around the block) I find myself revisiting some of the changes that have made an impression on me throughout my career.


The first major item that of the subject of this article – Human Resources (HR).  I’ve made friends with folks from most departments in most companies I worked with.  Strong relationships are a sure requirement to ‘get the job done’.  What has always surprised me is how, even within the folks in the HR department, this department seems to be dealing less and less with the humanity of the job and more and more of the resources part of the job.


A strange thing indeed?  Why would the one thing it is named for not be the focus of its efforts?  I go back to change and business transformation.  I see businesses changing traditional roles all over the place.  Why?  To reduce costs, to ‘be more effective’, and to support the true focus(es) of the business they support.  There seems little focus left for the humanity side of thing.  It’s nothing personal, it’s business!



Humanity and Business


Is it a true lack of focus?  Does this lack of focus need to be this way?  I don’t think so.  It’s not the same for every business nor every industry.  What you cannot ignore are the effects on the people and communities around us.  Those with leadership that are maintaining the humanity around their business appear to be succeeding far more often and dealing with less turmoil than those who try to manage by the budget only.  That’s not to say they are not without challenges either.  Trust is a two-way street.


Our culture has long defined success (This Is How Americans Define Success) and prosperity in a few key ways – financial, social, and possessions.  This in turn has driven our efforts – personal, professional, and business.  It is no wonder we are reaping what has been sewn previously.


The biggest issue I see facing our people today is not what was sewn, it is the fact that our society is now fundamentally under significant change in a continuous fashion due to the Digital Age (see article – Ten Most Significant Cultural Trends of the Last Decade by Andy Crouch).  The speed of which leaves older generations wondering what is going on (and possibly unable to cope) and younger generations accepting of the pace of change (without a real appreciation of the consequences).  The breadth and depth of our cultures are becoming smaller and shallower than ever.  We stand to lose a lot if we do not change our ways of thinking and doing.  Don’t call it Ludditism.


Community is Bliss


What I can speak to personally is that mental challenges appear to be endemic of this change.  Our bodies and brains are reacting and telling us something is wrong.  To be honest, I believe I can trace this back to my earliest of days when I started using the computer and our society started to monkey with newer and better foods and drinks.  I can imagine that there are a significant number of people out there who have tried to warn us, flag us, and bring awareness to this significant change.  Thing is, as humans, we are born and bread to have to learn by our own doing and yes, perhaps repeat lessons.  How quickly will we absorb this Digital Age lesson and will we learn from it?


This is where I think our most significant challenge and simultaneously our most significant strength comes forward.  Community.  We Humans exist to socialize and to be part of a Community.  Where we put our energy is where our Community exists.  For children growing up now, there are lots of pressures to be part of this (App) or part of that (social movement) but they are mere whispers of existence.  Attention is focused on the immediate gratification without real appreciation of the impact it has on them mentally and physically.


I am grateful to have woken up to this and I now join the ‘others’ who have alerted us in the past.  We need to take up arms within our real communities (not just physical but social) and transform them for a better result.  It is why I have embraced change within my life for the better – better health, better social health, and hopefully better every day living.  Perhaps with this article, I may convince some of you (one of my communities) to absorb this information, take charge of your life, and spread this missive.


Taking Back the Reigns


Taking back control of one’s life (and all aspects of it) is both an arduous thing and a measured thing.  The hardest part of it all?  Getting over yourself.  Get over your ego – let go of your preconceptions, your expectations, and your assumptions.  Every day does not need to be so doggedly demanding.  Our brains are our greatest asset and our greatest liability.  We can’t live with ‘em or without ‘em.  You have to learn to master your ego and grow.


So what’s the trick?  Is it complicated (we tell ourselves it is difficult)?  Is there a magic solution that will help me (quick fixes work don’t they)?  Is it truly something so simple that I can just accept it and move on?  The answer is not so clear and yet so clear that we can look past it every moment of every day.   The trick to it is: Engagement, Presence, and a Rhythm.


No one person has the same need for engagement, presence, and rhythm.  That is the joy of Life!  You are meant to discover this.  The question becomes:  Are you so wrapped up in your ego and satisfying it that you distract yourself from ascertaining what it is you are meant to be and do.  Nor are you to consider that you are alone in this effort.  Our family, friends, and in fact all relationships (even the people you walk by on a daily basis) are impacted by your rhythm, your presence, and your engagement.  Fail to do this and people will not pay attention to you.  Why would they?  You won’t do it for yourself!


So my treatise is this:  Do right by yourself and those within your charge.  Do not assume that the person you walk by is not worth your effort – start small or start large – whatever is your gift.  Say ‘Hi’, with genuine engagement.  Put yourself in the moment with your presence.  And lastly, accept your rhythm, hum your tune, dance your dance, quote your quote, and the rest as they say, is easy.


I invite you to do your own research as well.  Look up the following terms: ‘deep engagement’, ‘altruism’, and ‘the middle road’.