I've worked in human resources for a long time. So long in fact, that when I make pop culture references with our team, most of the group don't understand my jokes. I also discuss policies and procedures as tools to guide the culture of the workplace. I get the same blank stares on this too.
In my early hospital HR roles I held my policy book so close that you would think it was my version of a security blanket. It drove almost all of my decisions, helped ensure I was "following the rules" and never wavered!
Um, that's not leadership by the way. I wish someone had told me that back in the '90s.
Those old school approaches to HR leadership don't mesh with the more sophisticated employees of today. Yes, I said sophisticated. Think about it, the world is dramatically different than it was when I was part of the "new generation of leaders" coming up through the ranks.
Now we have the most informed, most empowered, and most connected world ever. For those of us that have jumped on the wild ride of contemporary business strategies it is an exciting and wonderful period of time.
For my colleagues who still wish "being a yuppie" was a thing, you have sadly been left behind.
Relationships Rule, Policies Are (mostly) a Waste
The savvy leader today, regardless of age or experience, understands that their relationship with the team will define the organization's profitability and ultimate success.
How many of us have prioritized the experience our employees have working for us as our number one agenda item every day? Not the patients, not the customers, not the business partners...our employees, first.
Let that settle in. No one is more important in the universe than your employees. Now we should take that one step further:
- What would your corporate culture feel like if every employee felt maximum support from you?
- What would the turnover rate of your top talent be if they felt you would do anything for them?
- How hard would your team work if they knew they had miraculously found a job where leadership was completely focused on their success?
- What do you think your profits would look like with a super-charged team working hard for you every day?
How About You
The old world of finding safe harbor in your policy book is gone. Don't destroy your credibility and try to go down that path.
No one...including me...will think that you're paying attention to the modern world.
Employees come first. Employees drive our success. Policies are just (too many) words on a page. Which one will you focus on?
I'd love to hear from you.