a seat at the table….

Olathe Human Resources

Olathe Human Resources (Photo credit: City of Olathe, KS)

I am passionate about taking the HR profession further, growing it to new heights.  Growing where exactly?  We hear a lot that we need a seat at the “table”, and I don’t disagree, but what table, who is there, and more importantly, why were we invited?  Just being there doesn’t mean our expertise is valued, considered, or going to be applied to strategic decisions.  We have to earn that seat, just like everyone else at the table.  While my comment pertains more to individuals than to the HR profession, stay with me here.   I believe that HR professionals have a little more (OK, a lot  more) to earn than the others at that table, and we need to demonstrate a broader scope of knowledge in order for our insights to be considered.  We need to understand the non-HR perspective, come at problems from other other angles, and value the contribution of those in the other seats.  If we get caught up in doing HR for HR’s sake, and become offended we are not at the table, we are using our efforts towards the wrong problem.  I am talking about accountability and ownership, and taking positive, deliberate action toward change.

Each of us contributes to this perception of HR on a daily basis.  Regardless of our title or place in the organizational hierarchy, we each contribute to the credibility of HR as a strategic partner as we go about our jobs each day.  We have opportunities to ask questions about the broader scope of issues, offer our assistance before being asked, and demonstrate our knowledge of our company, our product line, our services, and our industry.

Early in my HR career I decided to get an MBA because I thought this may get me a seat at that table.  And while I am in no way discouraging anyone from getting an MBA or going back to school (because I learned a lot and believe I did gain a broader understanding of business by doing so), I think in my case, I expected to get an invitation to that table sooner because of the degree.  I see now I had the wrong goal in mind.  I thought having the right credentials would get me a reserved seat.  But my interactions with my colleagues, both inside and outside of HR, have a bigger impact on getting me that seat.  And this blog is my way of taking hold of this accountability and deliberate action towards positive change and the expansion and development of the HR profession.

I am seeking to understand rather than be understood.  It is why I am hoping to connect with others who want to work together on this long journey.


3 thoughts on “a seat at the table….

  1. What an interesting concept. You are basically applying the very best of what humans have to offer each other to this people-managing field. Your sincerity is very appealing, and your earnestness is contagious.

  2. Great leadership concept….seeking to understand instead of being understood. You are on the right path to that seat at the table.

  3. Pingback: whose role is it to develop a relationship with HR… | myhrlife

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