Summary of HR on Purpose

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HR on Purpose book summary

Editorial Rating

7

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Those familiar with the viral Fast Company article “Why I Hate HR” will find its passionate rebuttal here. Author Steve Browne loves HR, and wants to shout it from the hilltops. Most HR executives, he believes, hide behind the administrative aspects of the job to avoid people and all the messiness that comes with them. In describing his own decades-long career in the field, he reveals the true value of the profession: understanding people, caring for them and building a positive work culture. He issues a clarion call: If you don’t have a heart for people, find another profession.

About the Author

Thirty-year HR veteran Steve Browne serves on the board of directors for the Society for Human Resource Management. He works as the executive director of human resources for a restaurant chain in Ohio.

Summary

HR work is difficult, but a positive, people-centered approach can transform your experience.

The HR profession suffers from a poor reputation. The work is exceptionally difficult: It requires a vast range of knowledge, and demands you tackle a seemingly endless list of employee complaints and frustrations. Countless factors – most outside your control – influence employees’ day-to-day moods, attitudes and engagement. You can write procedures and manuals until your fingers seize up, but many employees will never conform. This means the majority of effective HR work involves amateur psychology.

Gain perspective by acknowledging that you’re human too – complaining and difficult at times. Treat every person and their grievances with respect, even people you don’t like. Stay focused on the people behind the complaints and problems. At the same time, however, gravitate towards positive people and away from whiny ones. Make a list of the positive and negative things about your work. View the negatives as boulders you have to remove in order to focus on the positives. Stay positive, both in your attitude and how you address and interact with others...


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