Everybody Plays an HR Role

I work for a fantastic company. In addition to being a high-performing culture, we like to have fun. A lot of fun. Whether it’s a quarterly event to recognize the great work by our employees or a weekend-long get-away to extend the recognition, we really know how to celebrate. Leading up to, or during these events, I inevitably get several comments or questions about my role as the HR guy. Things like, “I bet you dread events like this,” or “oh, man, it must stink dealing with all the bad behavior!” All this while I’m enjoying a cold IPA. My response is usually, “I’m no more excited or nervous about this than you should be.”

Every position in a company has a set of roles and responsibilities. There are KPIs, MBOs, and CSFs that you better accomplish, ASAP. Underlying in every role should be the responsibility to do what’s right. Just because there is an HR person on staff does not excuse everyone else from calling out questionable behavior or doing what can be done to mitigate risk in an organization.

When I attend company functions, I do not attend to be a babysitter or corporate cop. If I wanted to play that role, I would have been a teacher like my diploma says I should be. I put my employee Levi’s on one leg at a time, just like everyone else. Employee relations are an aspect of my job and I take it very seriously. I also cannot be at 400 places, at once, and I rely on the good judgment and professionalism of others to stand up to, and address, behavior that may not be so professional.

It’s like the phrase I hear on the train, everyday, “If you see something, say something.” You don’t need your SHRM-SCP or SPHR to do that. We saw a recent example in the Bill Maher fiasco when a Senator had the opportunity to speak up and missed it. He later tweeted his regret hours later. Thank the gods for Twitter. Ugh. It’s tough, but we must be courageous and stand up in the moment.

Each person is hired for a specific skill set to do a particular job. And there are certain responsibilities each person has, regardless of the role. No matter how many certifications or titles you amass or what role you play in your organization, how you react in those moments and what you become throughout your career, is what truly matters.

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