They Lay Off HR Too, Don’t They?


I’m sure you’ve heard at least one story of the hapless HR person who, after having plowed through a stack of lay-off packages and sending employees tearfully on their way, is told, “You have one more package to prepare.”  What’s worse?  The feeling of betrayal?  Or the self-recrimination that you should have seen it coming? Actually, does it really matter? Either way, it sucks.

As far as your HR career is concerned, there is little but downside to the lay-off process.  You know more than you want to know about your co-workers.  If the company is big enough, or your community small enough, you know more about the future of your entire region than you want to know.  You start to feel like the grim reaper just going to the supermarket to replenish your Tums. You can’t help the feeling … Continue Reading

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Have You Lost Respect For Your Boss?


A few weeks ago, a reader (let’s call her Becky) wrote to me with an epic tale and one question on her mind: “Should I start looking for another job?” The woman who hired her quit on Becky’s first day (but mercifully agreed to stick around the whole week to train her in her new job). Becky, who was just starting her career, suddenly had legal and fiduciary duties at an organization with an irresponsible power fiend who, as CEO, was driving the company into the ground.

“Should I start looking for another job?” The quick answer would seem to be an obvious yes. But maybe at second look, a better answer might be, “Yes, but don’t be too quick to jump ship.” Becky is in an interesting position. On one hand her long-term career prospects are at risk, because … Continue Reading

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How to Build Passion Literacy at Work


I just had a fantastic experience with a call center rep! I had to call American Express this morning. After going through the dreaded automated menu of multiple options, I heard a cheerful voice saying, “May I help you?”

I could go on forever about how fabulous this person was. No script, patient listening while I ranted in a somewhat disorganized way, she gave me more information than I thought I wanted. When I thanked her profusely for her wonderful service, she rhapsodized about how much she loves taking care of customers’ needs.

But she didn’t want anyone to know about what a great job she does. When I asked her her name (which she shyly gave me one piece at a time), I then asked her, “Who do I talk to about how wonderful you are?” After putting me … Continue Reading

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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 … Continue Reading

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Miles of Wisdom: The First Thing to Know About Inspiring Great Customer Service


(Note: Engaged employees are literally a wealth of knowledge. Whether they are high-performing individual contributors who love their jobs or managers who score high on the engagement surveys — if they love their work, they’ve got something to teach us all.  They’re better than a textbook. They’re better than a motivational seminar. They’re the real deal. And they’ve got great stories!

Because I interview engaged employees as part of my consulting practice, I’m collecting miles of wisdom in the form of great video footage. With the permission of my clients and interviewees, I’ll periodically post highlights from powerful conversations. Like this one.) Continue reading

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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 … Continue Reading

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