The Hope of HR: “People are fundamentally good.”

While I don’t focus exclusively on healthcare HR, in the last year that has been the world I’ve been living in — with much pleasure and a deep sense of honor.  If you went to the 2010 ASHHRA conference  (and hung around for my closing keynote), you already know that I spent two months driving around the country interviewing healthcare HR leaders who love their work. You can see a version of the resulting video that I showed as part of the speech here.

There’s so much great material that came out of these interviews, so inspiring, so refreshing, that I’ve decided to share it with you here.  Most of the conversations will be around my trademark question:  “Does your work relieve pain, restore hope, or bring beauty into the world?”  (I’ll tell you about the origins of that question one of these days soon.) So you’ll be reading about the power of HR to influence hope, relief and beauty. A lot.

In this clip you’ll see Judy West, VP of HR for the Maine Medical Center in Portland, speaking about how the passion and decency of her people extend not only beyond the campus of her hospital but also deep into the future.  Do you remember when Christa McAuliffe said that teachers “touch the future?”  Here Judy talks about how hospital staffs touch the future and benefit lives long after their patients leave the hospital.

Okay. So let’s take it one step (or several steps) further:  HR pros — especially the ones who love their work — touch the future and solidify the hope that “people are fundamentally good” to generations of employees and their families.  The way people feel about their jobs directly influences the way their children look forward to a future of their own.  And HR has all the power in the company (yes, no arguing) to create a culture where employees see every day that people are fundamentally good.

What better foundation for building a life, a career and a business than the belief that people are fundamentally good? It sets the stage for great encounters with coworkers, direct reports, managers and ultimately customers. Start with “people are fundamentally good,” and you stand the best chance of walking away from any business encounter happy — assuming, of course, that everyone else agrees with you.

As the HR leader, you probably have the most power in your organization to make this belief an essential foundation of your culture. That’s the hope of HR.  Enjoy the clip!

(And, even if you’re not in healthcare, it applies to you too!)

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