I completed my podcast interview with Karin Hurt yesterday as we discussed the concepts in her new book, Courageous Cultures. [btw, I can’t wait for you guys to hear the finished product, so stay tuned for the release date.] Such a timely topic, because as you’ve read here before, this is our leadership moment in Human Resources.

About six months ago (can it actually be six months???) we were thrown into the biggest Black Swan event of our lifetimes. Companies (and careers) were either made or lost over the course of the next 90-120 days. Reactions and responses varied across the spectrum; how do you prepare for the unpreparable? But for those of us who managed to come out on the other side still kicking, we have two other landmark events that will test our mettle – and these are events we can prepare for.

  1. COVID, Part II: Six months of furloughs, layoffs, and a virtual workplace. The cloud is slowly lifting now, and for many companies that means decision time; do we bring everyone back to the traditional office? If so, when? Do we maintain social distancing, PPE requirements, health monitoring protocols, new policies and procedures? What about employees who are fearful about returning? Who is “essential?” Who aligns that term with “expendable?” If you’re in Human Resources, you are 100% required to be in the decision process for each of these questions. Not only that, but you need to be the courageous voice in the room. As Karin wisely explained, to do that you need to recognize, define, and establish your values and your non-negotiables. Who are you? What will you accept? What won’t you accept? Listen for that moment, open your mouth, and don’t look back. If the righteous reasoning isn’t enough, remember the NLRA applies and protects employees whether they are unionized or non-unionized. Protected Concerted Activity targeted at employers who aren’t prepared for a workplace not considered “post-COVID ready” by its employees.
  2. The 2020 Presidential Election: The corrupt media and politicos (both in office and peripheral to those in office) have done a masterful job of whipping the entire country into a frenzy. You have common people on both sides of the political spectrum absolutely convinced that America (or the world in general) will burn to the ground if (insert name here) wins this election. If you haven’t seen overt messages of political affiliations, you can’t assume they aren’t there. As my buddy Steve Browne says in the Fall 2020 edition of HR Magazine, it’s up to us to “Cross the Moat” and make that connection – we can’t afford to wait for the manifestation of pent-up concerns. It takes courage to make that connection without consideration of your own political beliefs.

It’s not courageous if there isn’t some risk involved. You could be shut down, ignored, dismissed, minimized, mocked, or……wrong. Yes, in an unprecedented time chock-full of unprecedented events, there will be false steps.

That, more than anything, shows courage. Someone ready to speak up, speak out, speak ON – even if proven to be wrong – can that person remain resolute and continue to seek solutions? If so, please apply within.

25 years after accidentally landing in Human Resources, and still miles to go before I sleep. I have worked the wild and changing spectrum of the healthcare segment as a recruiter, generalist, business partner and team leader. Public, private, PE-backed, start-up ventures and merging entities – I’ve worked with them all. I’m also a featured contributor for Fistful of Talent, co-author of “What’s Next in Human Resources” and now a contributor to the good folks with the HR Exchange Network.

HR Hardball…where “Human Behavior Meets Human Resources”