We have both been pretty busy the past few weeks, so the bloggity-blog has been kind of quiet. This has been a busy conference season for me and after a couple of months of these loosely connected and overlapping conversations with bunches of different people about innovation, culture, recruiting, talent, inclusion, leadership and business, I am left with this one idea…
Caring is the difference maker.
Are you and your organization capable of actually caring about the human beings that you interact with as consumers (past, present, potential), or employees (past, present, potential)?
I am not talking about caring as in lets all be friends, here’s a hug and everyone gets a trophy. That is not really caring. That is dishonest and lame and counter-productive, and I am not talking about that. I am not a warm, fuzzy, huggy person myself and dont want a bunch of unsolicited hugs. The kind of caring that I am talking about requires courage, because it is about being honest with people, sharing information, advocating on their behalf and being in relationships of equals.
I find it curious when talking to folks about issues related to HR, talent, recruiting, inclusion that so many folks have this “take it or leave it” attitude towards employees and candidates and consumers…like people are this burden on them. Even the idea that “caring’ should be a part of our conversations sometimes brings a sneer from some folks…”hey this isnt social work!”
I do not want you to be fake, happy, lovey person but if you are not willing and able to care about the people that you interact with and what their experience is I think you are bad for this work. We are in the people business, and people are in some fundamental ways different than things…but you would not know that listening to many of our conversations. We spend so much time talking about these things that we have invented like engagement and alignment and ROI and those things matter, but we are talking about human beings and things like love and joy and trust and curiosity matter also. Why are we unwilling and unable to talk about those things?
I could care less what your engagement score is, do your employees find joy in their work?
Some people think its weak, soft, mushy to talk about this stuff. Some people thought the world was flat. Some people thought this planet of ours was the center of the universe. The truth is that it takes far more courage and strength to talk about uniquely human things like love, and joy, and fear than it does to talk about engagement, ROI or some other cosmetic metric.
I think that there is some courage missing from this profession and it shows up in how we talk about our work.
If you are not interested in listening to people, if you are not able to truly value their perspective and care about their experience, if you want to hide behind an ideology, a process or a metric go work in politics.