HR on Purpose | Steve Browne

Summary of: HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion
By: Steve Browne


Dive into the engaging world of HR as portrayed in Steve Browne’s book ‘HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion’. In the summary of this compelling read, you will uncover the challenges and complexities prevalent in the HR field, the importance of acknowledging your own humanness, and the value of choosing people over processes. Learn about the significance of having purpose, shaping company culture, and the need for strategic HR thinking. This enlightening book will open your eyes to the human element that truly makes HR a rewarding career and provide you valuable insights to transform your approach in the field.

HR Work and the Human Element

Human Resource (HR) work is often challenging and requires a broad range of knowledge and skills to handle employees’ concerns and grievances. The job involves working with people which is much more complicated than procedures and protocols. Despite the position’s difficulty, HR professionals should treat every person and their complaints with respect. They should focus on the positive side and gravitate towards constructive people while removing negatives from their checklist. HR professionals should maintain a positive attitude towards work and interact well with employees.

Passion and People in HR

Author Steve Browne highlights the importance of passion and people in HR through his personal experience as a solo HR generalist.

If you’re spending most of your waking hours at work, it’s essential to feel passion for what you do, or else find something else. In his book, Steve Browne emphasizes the significance of passion and people in HR based on his personal experience as an HR generalist. On his first day as an HR generalist, the CEO tasked Browne with getting to know each of the firm’s 225 employees within 30 days. Failure to do so would result in being fired.

Browne traveled across four locations in two states, actively getting to know each employee beyond just their work responsibilities by learning about their hobbies and quirks. At his next meeting with the CEO, Browne was questioned about specific employees, and he answered not only their responsibilities but also personal information. The CEO reiterated the point of the exercise, stating that Browne was hired to care for the workforce.

Browne’s experience demonstrates the importance of prioritizing people in HR. While rules and policies matter, HR is ultimately about people. It’s crucial that HR professionals feel a passion for their work and that they make an effort to get to know the employees they serve beyond their job descriptions.

People Over Process

HR should prioritize individual decisions and consider employees’ feelings and motivations over following rigid rules and regulations. Standardization is not the solution, as it fails to acknowledge the unique differences that exist within a workforce. Instead, choose people over process and make decisions on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the individual context and circumstances. Inflexible rules will be circumvented and double standards will emerge, leading to an unequal workplace. HR should embrace the diverse individuality of performance and thought that exists within the workforce and make decisions accordingly.

Finding Purpose in HR

Do you enjoy working in HR? The key to success is finding your purpose. Without it, you can’t expect to excel in your role or inspire others. Model the behavior you expect from others, and you’ll naturally foster engagement, commitment, and enthusiasm. Setting the example will not only benefit your team, but also earn the respect of senior executives.

Building a Unique Company Culture

The HR department plays a crucial role in shaping a company’s culture. However, it’s not limited to organizing company picnics and motivational posters. HR needs to understand the current culture, values, and mission of the organization before initiating any change. The focus should shift from rules, compliance, and administration to people. Every employee brings their unique skill set, strengths, and attributes that contribute to the company’s success. Instead of assimilating subcultures, the HR department should leverage them. A bad manager isn’t the sole reason for employee turnover, but a byproduct of the company’s culture. It’s essential to build a unique culture tailored to the people and the organization.

HR Policies that Stifle Creativity

HR professionals sometimes impede innovation by discouraging workable ideas from being executed. The summary suggests that they often utilize HR jargon to put down new ideas. The author recommends being more inventive by taking calculated risks and innovatively using skills and knowledge to get things done. Policies that hurt employee performance should be removed and the rules that are necessary should be stated in plain language. HR should also aim to understand why an employee is challenging to deal with instead of coercing them to comply. The summary proposes that organizations should welcome diversity and implement it efficiently rather than forming tribes and cliques. The author suggests that organizations need to embrace differences to enhance innovation and creativity because uniformity and homogeneity stifle them. Therefore, the summary encourages a positive approach towards diversity and urges HR professionals to avoid the useless policies whose main function is just to codify all reasons why things can’t be done.

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