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Home > News > Take my advice. I’m not using it…

June 1, 2020

Take my advice. I’m not using it…

HR Consultant Jenny Dines shares her thoughts on balancing the human factors of HR – although it might be a case of do as I do and not as I say, eh Jenny!

When Emma asked me to write this blog, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to come up with anything more on the ‘HR in the time of Covid-19’ theme. We might be pretty much at saturation point on every conceivable angle – until the next big change comes along anyway!

Maybe, I thought, we need something that doesn’t mention it for a change. So, I’m going to do my best from here on in, but I suspect most roads will lead back to pandemics somehow.

I’ve not written an official blog before, so I started by googling ‘how to write a blog’ and came across a topic generator tool. When I put in HR or HR Consultant it came up with 7 reasons why HR gets better with alcoholthe death of HR and 8 reasons to fear HR Consultants. I get the feeling someone at Topic Generator Central has a grudge against us HR people!

It also came up with 6 movies with unbelievable scenes about HR, which reminded me of my time in one organisation where we dealt with a lot (A LOT) of employee relations cases. Some of these, if I didn’t know for a fact they had occurred, I would not have believed to be true (maybe a whole other blog topic in itself!). The team there used to daydream about a fly-on-the-wall TV series based around an HR department. One of my very creative colleagues decided that it would be called The HR Souls…  I think the person with the grudge at Topic Generator Central would agree with that working title.

Thinking about a TV series based in an HR department, also made me think that over my 20 years of working in HR, I have worked with a disproportionate number of colleagues who joined the profession via some kind of theatre or performing arts background, myself included. When I was once asked about this during a media training exercise, my response was that I think it’s because, like the more traditional psychology route into HR, we have a genuine interest in people and what makes them tick. HR people tend to watch and listen and be attuned to individuals, situations and mannerisms, the changes in those and how they affect others.

Which in a roundabout way does bring me back to the HR in the time of Covid-19 theme. We are incredibly busy looking out for everyone else and making sure that everyone in the organisations we support are ok. For consultants like me, this might mean multiple clients with a wildly differing degree of need. The only true common thread is that things are uncertain and will be for some time. Maybe our organisations aren’t ok and, ultimately, won’t survive this – and if that’s the case how does HR ease the pain of this transition for people? Maybe some of our organisations are busier than ever, with the pressure to deliver taking on even greater significance than normal. Whatever end of the spectrum, the people we support will be trying to navigate through it and are likely to be looking to you to steer the course. This is a huge pressure on HR teams and leaders.

All are having to adapt, and what I’ve seen from my own network is that, as usual, not many of us in HR are finding the time for ourselves in all of this. You’ll be unsurprised to learn I am just as guilty of this. A classic case of take my advice, because I’m not using it.

Now, I’m not saying you must take up a new hobby or bake sourdough bread from scratch, but we all know that we can’t look after anyone else effectively if we are not looking after ourselves. So please, take your own advice and find something that works for you; 10 minutes of meditation via YouTube or an app, that daily walk you keep promising yourself but end up foregoing, a herbal tea outside in the sunshine.  Stick with it, listen to and look out for yourself.

There are so many opportunities from this situation which could see us reinvent how we have been approaching work, properly ensure work life balance and, I strongly believe, see more productivity as a result. In the meantime we have a responsibility to lead the way through our actions.

Jenny Dines is an experienced, director-level, HR consultant. Based in Suffolk she works across all aspects of HR with a particular emphasis on change management projects and complex employee relations issues. Contact Waddington Brown at enquiries@waddingtonbrown.co.uk for more information on working with Jenny or any of our outstanding HR consultants.