Much like the rest of the world, HR professionals’ roles have reached a new point of inflection. If you thought you had your hands full before, they are even more so now as you help your organization navigate the complexities of managing its workforce remotely. Add to that the tensions resulting from the recent untimely and unjust deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Aubry, and Rayshard Brooks, and you now need to effectively communicate with a team that may be hurting, while working to ensure the creation of an inclusive work environment. Whew!
This is an opportunity for HR to lead in a new way, with the measurement for our value lying in how much we influence and are relied upon for counsel by the business’ leaders making critical decisions. I encourage you to use this influence and speak up in ways that you may have been hesitant to in the past. Recent events have heightened our awareness and understanding of challenging topics like racism and sexism. Consider that it may be time to move out leaders who are not yet ready to support all employees. Historically, we have stopped short of that kind of bold move, believing that one person was a must for the business. At times we did not trust what we know to be true. Talent is abundant. That fear-based thinking led NBC to think they could not do the Today Show without Matt Lauer. They turned a blind eye to his bad behavior until it was public and it could no longer be ignored. It’s time for us to step up! Business needs our insight and leadership.
It’s difficult because there are few people who are completely bad and we get torn by the good qualities, as we should. However, our principles and commitment to valuing all employees should lead us to make some of those tough decisions, painful though right. The humans are counting on us to lead the right efforts on their behalf, recognizing that strong HR strategy leads to strong performance and engagement, which leads to business success. This is the moment. Let’s not miss it.
Dr. Lisa Toppin
PS: Our theme song is “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” by McFadden and Whitehead.