HR Blog

Being Thankful for Making a Difference

By Dee Yingst

Who is thankful for you?

So I was shopping at my local Costco a few weeks ago and happened to bump into one of my first supervisors from my days with Capital BlueCross.  Roseanne was a task master for sure.  Although at the time I never doubted that she cared, I’m certain I didn’t fully appreciate the wisdom in her words.  These 30(!) or so years later, I see her at Costco and practically burst telling her how much I learned from her and that I still go back to those lessons and still quote her to this very day.  We must have been quite a site hugging and crying in the snack food aisle.

There’s so much talk about employees in general being unhappy, being uninterested, and technology replacing humanity…..but there’s not enough talk about what each and every one of us can do in our own small space of the world to make a difference. 

No single function touches every employee in an organization quite the way HR does, giving HR a tremendous opportunity to model the welcoming culture of an organization and show employees that the company values them and is genuinely interested in their success.  Like it or not fellow HR folks, your employees are watching you. They watch how you greet them, how you treat them, how you conduct yourself.

There is tremendous power in our hands to make positive change if we’re willing.

It doesn’t cost a thing to address an employee by name or to pause for a second to ask them how they’re doing; to look them in the eye and actually see them. If you’re a manager, make the time to pop into your staff’s workspaces and ask them how their day is going and ask what you can do to help. Don’t neglect your long term staff – make sure they hear you say how much the organization values them; don’t assume they know.  

HR has the keys to the kingdom – we can model the kind of behavior that we want to see emulated throughout your organization.

Ask yourself: Are you modeling the behavior that you want the rest of the company to follow or are you staying hidden in your office only emerging when there’s a problem?  Are you welcoming new employees and acknowledging your tenured workers? Are you visible in the organization in good times as well as bad ones?

It is imperative that HR does not lose sight of what the “H” stands for in “Human Resources.” If HR isn’t doing it, then how can you expect anyone else to??

This Thanksgiving, I challenge you to be the person that someone sees when they look back on their career for that individual that made a difference to them. Not sure how to do that? Start by asking yourself these questions: Who listened to you? Who acknowledged you? Who made you feel valued? Now go and be the answer to those questions for someone else.