Someone asked me on LinkedIn the other day the age-old HR dichotomy: “Is HR’s job to protect the company or the people?” My response? “You protect the company by taking care of the people. When you take care of people, they feel valued, seen, and appreciated. They will take care of your business every time.” My takeaway from #SHRM22? I’m not alone in this belief — we need to take care of our people.
I had a healthy dose of skepticism for Sunday’s opening general session with two healthcare insurance carrier executives on the stage. Please don’t tell us the solution to this mass exodus of talent is found in benefits…However, shortly into their discussion, I saw the most beautiful display of vulnerability and kindness as a leader. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, including Humana’s President and CEO, Bruce Broussard as they recalled a story about the personal medical challenges of the Chief Administrative Officer, Tim Huval. The obvious care, compassion, and concern for this person on the CEO’s team was palpable in the room. It was a living demonstration of empathy and culture – setting the example from the top. What a way to start the conference!
The theme of humanity and taking care of ourselves and one another continued throughout the conference experience. Humanity was present in the halls — as per usual, there was a DJ in the main area to get people moving. A time or two, you could find me and several others, connecting through a mutual love of the Cha-Cha Slide, letting loose and forgetting about e-mails, HRIS demos, and anything outside of the four walls of the convention center.
In the Expo Hall, an unfamiliar site reminded us all of the importance of culture 365 in our companies. Motivosity had a sign in their booth that clearly demonstrated their culture. The expo started on Sunday, but that was a protected time for “Yeti families,” as they called their team members, and they were spending Sunday with their families. This value wasn’t situational — Sundays are for family unless we have a conference to attend.
Speaking of culture…Steve Browne, CPO of LaRosa’s reminded us the importance of taking care of our people and being people-first, sharing with his attendees a photo of a simple block of wood they made and handed out to each team member with “We are PEOPLE FIRST” AND “2,4,4,2 KEYS TO SUCCESS” carved into the block.
Imagine joining that team and knowing that your leadership is not only people first, but they are promoting that value and holding themselves and others accountable to it. Is your organization practicing people-first leadership?
If you attended SHRM22 or even simply followed the hashtag #SHRM22 SHRM22Influencer, you can find photos, videos, and tips for making your organization people first. It can be a little overwhelming during the conference itself to absorb all the great content that is shared. That’s the purpose of the Influencer team. We capture soundbites and ideas and share them – not just during the conference, but long after!
Stay tuned for Part 2!