The Hope of HR: Prepare to Be Amazed…Every Day

When you’re in HR, it’s so easy to get bogged down by the hassles and headaches of dealing with people. How do you keep your own passion for HR energized? Be the keeper of a workplace culture that cherishes the passion of your people.

The more I get to know what healthcare HR faces every day, the more amazed I am. I don’t know how you do it, frankly. But I’m so glad you do. And I’m so impressed that even in the face of regulatory, legislative and other strategic challenges that threaten to get in the way of you doing your best work, you don’t lose sight of the fact that there are people in your organizations who really see the deep human meaning behind the work they do. And they draw inspiration from those small golden moments where everyone stops to remember: It’s about the people — their human needs, dreams and the little miracles that occur daily.

That takes a lot of emotional fortitude, especially when you’re dealing in organizational environments that are both high drama and high hassle. And it takes a lot of strength to be willing to tap into that rich emotional well to feel a sustained gratitude for the HR profession — especially in the healthcare world.  Meet Maureen O’Keeffe, system vice president of HR for St. Luke’s Health System, in Boise, ID.   This short clip is the first of several from our interview that I will be posting in upcoming weeks.  You’ll see that her emotions are very close to the surface, which is exactly the way I like to operate as well. Makes for some great stories.

Which brings me to the next thought:  If you’re in HR, how do you become the keeper of a workplace culture that cherishes the passion of your people? One answer: By being the caretaker of their stories.  Everyone has one. And that story elevates them above their job description and turns them into philosophers, poets, customer service experts, adventurers.  While some stories might be amazing stories, the smaller, quieter gems seem to be held closer to the heart. And they are the first to emerge when I feel that the time is right as an interviewer to ask the question that invites the wisdom.  Everyone I ask has that story top of mind, tip of tongue.

So, now I’d like you to meet Kristine Cassidy, and you’ll see what I mean. As vice president of ancillary services at Fremont Rideout Health Group, Yuba City, CA,  she is definitely tied into the issues of patient care and experience. But you wouldn’t expect her days to be filled with particularly moving moments. Here she tells the story of what happened one day when she was asked to give a father a sentimental tour of the hospital nursery. She is not a heart surgeon. So this isn’t a story of heroics on that level. But she did help heal a broken heart that day when a grieving father came to her with a simple request that meant the world to him.  It was one of her finest moments that has become a story that she shares with her hospital colleagues when given the chance to talk about why she loves her work in healthcare.

What stories, what hidden gems of inspiration and healing, are held in the hearts of your employees?  As the HR leader in your organization, you can be the one to hold those stories safe for your people. Just be prepared to be amazed. Every day.

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