Welcome to the CostofWork’s series “The HR Rap Session.” I hope you enjoyed part 1 featuring John Hudson. Next up, Nicole Ochenduski with her take on “HR: They Way I See It”
I was recently asked, “What do you do all day?” by a colleague in HR. I was taken a back at first, but then stopped to reflect. My daily list consisted of: firefighting, being a confidant, and a little bit of strategy. Was this how I envisioned my HR Life?
Anyone who works in manufacturing knows that firefighting is par for the course. Whether it’s a raw material shortage causing overtime or a toilet paper outage in the locker room – there’s always a fire. And…they always come to HR. You ever wonder why? HR, the way I see it, are natural born firefighters. They not only can prevent fires, but they are the extinguishers also. Have you ever defused a situation that could have been extremely volatile? It’s usually HR that can do that.
Being a confidant to peers seems to be the norm in HR as well. Don’t get me wrong, we NEVER get invited to the after hours parties. I’m not talking about being friends with people, I’m talking about listening. How many of you have peers come to you and say, “I just need to vent.” HR, the way I see it, are able to absorb info and file it away. We have the compassion to understand that life isn’t perfect, and there are no perfect jobs, but we’re all in this together.
Being in the trenches of HR, I get to dabble in a little bit of strategy. Not as much as I would like to, but when I am able, I work on making the world around me a better place. I hear all too many people whining about not having a “seat at the table.” I am so tired of hearing that phrase. HR, the way I see it, is not entitled to that seat at the table. You have to take it, earn it. When you can master the firefighting role, the confidant role, and show you have some insight into the strategy role – then you can have the seat.
HR, the way I see it, is a role that people don’t always understand. People will question our worth to the business and our capability to be strategic. I took a deeper look and reminded myself that I have the ability to change “What I do all day and How I See HR.”
Nicole Ochenduski, PHR, is a Human Resources Professional, Speaker, and Trainer with a passion for the use of social media in the workplace. The sole purpose of her blog “HR-Roots” is to help folks make intentional connections both online and IRL (in real life!).