Yep, really. Something said to me in my career history by a director who wasn’t too thrilled with my professional perspective on an HR matter and my explanation of the potential risk to the business.
I had found myself in a rollercoaster of a role where I was an interface between challenging directors and challenging staff and in many cases took the hit to protect the staff. On the flip side I managed disciplinary and grievance matters directly with line managers and staff, and negotiated many an informal solution to try and keep employees off the radar and the company risk free, particularly when the director lost the plot with someone or when his behaviour was nothing short of questionable. What that gave me was honed skills in business partnering, conflict management, negotiation, mediation, persuasion, protectionism and resilience (lots of resilience!), oh and a habit of carrying tissues at all times in all handbags. I also ensured I knew our policies and legal best practice inside out so I could defend my position and challenge in an informed way.
We have all had a good or a not so good boss in our careers, and it probably wouldn’t surprise you if I said, sometimes you need to know when you are beaten, a director that shouts, yells, swears, throws things and says things like that (along with many other toe curling comments) is clearly not going to change, but hey it has given me stories to tell! The important thing was providing the best HR support to the business I could within the context of the organisation but also making the decision that it wasn’t going to define me. I certainly wasn’t going to stick with the job for longer than necessary, but there was a balance to be had working flexibly to manage childcare, gaining experience, developing my skillset and doing it my way.
So when I am asked why do you do what you do now, well there it is in one sentence. I set Metro HR up to help small business deliver great HR. I do what I do now in the hope that I can guide, educate and inform employers of the amazing value an engaged, committed, rewarded and appreciated team can add to the bottom line, and the reward and sense of achievement employers can feel when they have a successful business, are rocking their HR and have employees that think they work for a great employer. I feel a real sense of achievement and pride when I know that my clients promote best HR practice and that employees are treated well, consistently, fairly and with respect and dignity, as they should be. To me that is a win win, and is worlds apart from that pain and feeling of physical sickness that used to rise up in my tummy all those years ago when I could hear a situation unfolding in the office next door and the temper and voice of the director building.
Now, please rest assured that no monkeys were harmed in this process, forced to read the full company policy and procedure manual or added to the next induction day training. But what this comment did do was unleash my inner chimp, which did need some harnessing and some constraint to turn my initial reaction to such a comment into a targeted career plan to get myself out of that role. This was my turning point, my lightbulb moment and the catalyst for a 5 year plan to get qualified and get myself out of there on my terms and when I was ready. The rest is history, so ironically I guess I should thank that director for that wake up call. If you would like to discuss rocking your HR, then get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org
Someone once said to me “Keep your ‘why’ nearby”, good advice. Why do you do what you do?