Everybody has a story, maybe more than one, impacting your work life. I was reminded of this yesterday at the SHRM opening presentations when Heather Abbott, a Boston Marathon bombing victim, gave a rousing 10 minute introduction to the conference. An HR executive whose life was dramatically altered after losing a leg in the tragic and senseless event. She has recovered, moved on and is inspirational to others in proving that we all have the ability to overcome even the most unthinkable of life changing moments.
Many people live with difficult challenges and go to work everyday without any of us knowing. They might not be as powerful or touching a story as Heather’s, but they are impactful to every individual. I have discussed this with the head of our Talent team on a couple of occasions. You might interview some one for skill and attitude without knowing their story. Many might say it should have no impact on the hiring process, however once someone does come aboard it most definitely impacts performance. Since these “stories” are typically private in nature they often stay buried. When someone on your team is having a bad day is it because of work or because of life? We might never really know.
Working in HR we need to remember our human assets are just that, not machines. They are not perfect and come with imperfections, short comings and yes a STORY.
We need to find ways to be supportive, positive and available when these stories do surface and when they are struggling. Being supportive doesn’t cost anything or get in the way of being productive. A kind word, a smile, or just being reasonable can make a huge difference…
Lets put the HUMAN back in Human resources!