Sweat the fluff

Life feels like it’s come one full circle.

My first role as an HR Business Partner amongst other tasks included organizing events, Friday fun, editing the company newsletter and a few similar activities. For someone straight out of college and working in the field of HR for the first time, I assumed that it was part of the role. While I did enjoy it at times, Stacie Orrico’s song often came to mind.

From there, I moved into an organization and role that lived by the motto of ‘managers manage’ and took pride in being scientific, analytical and considered all the above-mentioned activities as tasks that managers/teams need to own. My role turned more consultant and aligned to, what in my head was, the true role of an HR Business Partner.

Fast forward to 2022; now that we’ve begun to come to terms with the impact of the pandemic, the acceptance that it’s likely here to stay and an understanding of the things that really keep employees in an organization, I find myself including things like ‘care packages’, ‘social events’ and ‘feeling connected’ in conversations, proposals and recommendations. One of my areas of focus this year is new hire delight. As one leader said, ‘It’s easier to switch jobs now more than ever because not only is the market more lucrative; for someone who’s joined since March 2020, changing jobs is as easy is unplugging one laptop and plugging another one in.’ Employee stickiness is at an all-time low and for many new hires, the organization is one tiny bubble of the people they interact with every day.

Suddenly, the very things I’d considered fluff for the last few years, are the exact things that are needed now more than ever. My recommendations now focus on ways to make people more reachable, the workplace friendlier and the organization more human. Maybe this is it. Maybe the theme for the year is to ‘sweat the small stuff’ or the fluff as I called it. Maybe there’s a reason why HR conferences for the past few years clamored to make the workplace more ‘human’ and not focus on numbers alone.  

As we close the first week of 2022, I’d like to know – what ‘fluff’ are you going to sweat about this year?

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