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Going back to my roots in Human Resources

I’ve had my own Coaching & Consulting company for over six-years. While my background is deeply grounded in Human Resources, me like many of you started out on the ground level of my career.

Through my career, I’ve learned quite a lot about connecting the dots of what the business requires and how Human Resources can impact business outcomes. I’ve moved from the ground level up several levels to be able to start my own company and make a successful go of it.

Additionally, I’ve gone back to school, became certificated in a few assessments, become a trained Coach, held/hold Board positions, continued to learn best practices by participating in professional organizations, and have taken on new challenges. I’ve expanded my Human Resources to other strategic areas of the “people” business, including Leadership Development, Talent Managemen

t, Organization Development and Career Coaching.

For many years I’ve worked both internally and with clients at the strategic or higher level in organizations.

I was asked if I was interested in an assignment for a small firm (less than 50 employees) to build their HR function. This company had worked with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) that did of their HR work.

I thought long and hard about this. After-all, I’ve been there, done that and bought the T-shirt. Was I really interested in going back to my roots. The answer is a very resounding YES!!

While I’ve grown in my own career, and stepped away from the day-to-day tactical work, much has also changed in the world of HR. For example, there is the Affordable Care Act, American with Disabilities Act, and simple things like electronic personnel files, social networking & recruiting, on-line applications and HR paperwork to name a few. While I knew all of these changes were taking place - I just had a cursory view of what these were - but didn’t know (or really care) how they worked.

One of the tasks of this assignment was to review the employee handbook. If I had done the review back when I was learning - I would have read the handbook and said that it’s fine. It has the necessary policies and is up to date with the current laws. However; what I viewed differently now is how this boiler plate handbook doesn’t fit the culture of the organization. For example, the handbook has a pretty standard Drug & Alcohol policy; however at this company (remember, small company) it’s okay to have a beer or glass of wine at a meeting. Or the standard dress code, business casual - while this company is very, super casual. The “Code of Conduct” mentions swearing could be cause for termination - yet, the CEO in an the all company meetings uses statements like “we need to get this sh#@ done”. NOTE: We’ve had discussions while none of these things are against any employment laws - they could cause issues, especially as the company grows.

Additionally, applying HR practices that meet the strategy of the organization and having future oriented conversations - these are things that I would not have done in my entry level years.

And, yes there are those humbling conversations. One of the owners wanted to put together a survey for employee reviews, and he asked me if I have experience writing surveys (Why, yes, I do) and a manager asking me if I had any experience in employee/leader development (Yeah, I have that too).

In the end, I’m thrilled to have taken this assignment. I’m learning and relearning the work that others do while I’ve taken the “strategic” path. It’s good to go back to my roots, for now.

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