The more I blog about it, the more I realize how I’m actually a Mom on a mission: to help shape the World of Work along with the World of Home, one powerful Analogy at a time!
Two things never cease to amaze me in my life (so far): how fast my little toddler is growing, and how powerful it is to train your mind into drawing Analogies. I’ve dedicated a entire piece in my blog on Analogies and what they stand for, but if you are in need of a quick definition, here it is:
Analogies are comparisons bound to show a similarity. In effect, they are about interferences: if things agree in some respect, chances are they agree in others as well.
Generating Analogies is about conveying meaning. I often use them as a tool to bring others into my train of thought, and I respect how they never forget to pay me back with the excitement of newly discovered truths!
Thus far, throughout my blog, I have experimented with comparing Work Life and Home life while drawing several Analogies on the level of various professional Skills, Abilities and Knowledge areas, such as:
- Project Management & Planning, and how Parenthood almost forces you to apply well-known business tools to cope.
- Change Management, also known as the delicate art of skiing your way down the steep slope of managing everyone’s expectations (including your own).
- Teamwork, and how crucial it is for your family (and your work) to continue to run smoothly as you transition your focus from getting by as a duo to becoming a part of a bigger group.
- Growth, and how training your brain to develop the respective Mindset fuels an infinite potential to achieve any goal you set your mind to, be it personal or professional.
- Creativity being your best bet to manage complexity without losing your grit!
- Leadership, as an inherent trait developed by Parents that often goes unnoticed at work.
- Troubleshooting and why it’s your biggest asset as both a Parent and an Employee.
- Analytics, and why having them onboard your skills array can help you get out of trouble both at home and at work.
- Gamification as a core ingredient in any experience worth investing time or effort in.
- Storytelling, and how it pays when people don’t just limit it to bedtime routine and, instead, bring it to work!
- Efficiency being at the center of all your efforts, to make sure you save time, effort and energy in all of work and life’s interactions.
- Simplification as the fastest way to achieve your goals while keeping your focus
- Coaching, and why cultivating it as a Parent is equally crucial and beneficial as working on it as a professional.
- Learning, as a core developmental capability of paramount importance, upon which all other skills are allowed to flourish!
My goal with these Analogies continues to be to show the World how:
- Home-Life is equally competence-intensive as Work-Life and deserves our creative attention.
- Parenthood is one of the most transformative life stages that helps sharpen knowledge, skills and abilities very relevant and valuable to contemporary Businesses.
- The talk about Work-Life balance is getting older and more irrelevant by the minute, and we should be focusing our efforts towards mainstreaming Work-Life integration.
One thing I am keen to experiment with as I deepen my practical research on the matter, is go beyond KSAs and attempt a more complex comparison: the entire role of a Parent with that of a Field Expert in a given particular professional area. This is what this article will attempt to do: draw the world’s first Analogy between… a Parent and a Human Resources Professional!
What does a Human Resources Professional do, you may wonder. So, first-off, a short definition on what the field is about, by the HubSpot:
Human Resources is in charge of dealing with all issues related to the people within your organization. This includes recruiting and hiring people, as well as onboarding employees, but it also involves tasks required to retain employees, long-term. For instance, HR might develop wellness initiatives, provide guidance regarding disciplinary actions, or promote career development or training programs to strengthen employee satisfaction. Additionally, HR handles compensation and benefits.
Ok, I must admit I am playing a bit safe here, kicking-off with Human Resources, a professional area that I know well enough and feel comfortable talking about. I work in a sub-field of HR called Workforce Management where I specialize in helping companies achieve their strategic goals by promoting employee engagement through Learning & Development, Internal Communication and Corporate Events. On the other hand, if there’s one person opinionated enough to draw such an Analogy, he or she should best be an insider: someone long enough in the profession to have developed both the acumen and expertise to fill in the blanks and help underline links where others see only barriers. So, without further ado, here is my take on how 7 responsibilities of HR Professionals are greatly Analogous to those of contemporary Parents!
Responsibility #1: Participate in Planning and Development
In the modern Marketplace, Human Resource executives serve as strategic partners. They participate in the identification, development and execution of corporate objectives. In this capacity, HR executives align the work of their business unit to achieve company goals, to aid in the sustainable growth of the enterprise.
Meanwhile, back at good ol’ Home, Moms and a Dads serve as their children’s strategic peers, doing their best to plan, support and take part in all sorts of activities that promote their munchkins’ mental and physical development. Therefore, they incessantly identify, develop and execute respective family objectives: from making sure the little ones are fed and kept safe, to planning their own schedule around those afternoon drives to soccer practice, ballet dancing or robotics class!
Responsibility #2: Provide Employees With Career Assistance
Today, HR professionals take an active role in helping employees advance their careers. Instead of simply grading employees on a checklist of performance points, modern human resource specialists help workers identify areas for improvement and develop specific action steps.
Meanwhile, Moms & Dads worldwide ace at helping their kids advance. Whether it’s helping them with school assignments or awarding stars for successful potty training, Parents are naturals at accommodating the advancement of their sons and daughters.
Responsibility #3: Find and Recruit Employees That Advance Company Objectives
Modern HR executives formulate employer brands designed to attract the right job candidates. In this responsibility, human resource leaders work to promote their respective firms as highly favorable workplaces. HR executives often earn this kind of accolade for organizations by creating a positive culture and providing satisfactory compensation and benefits as ways to attract ideal work candidates.
If you find this HR responsibility to be completely irrelevant to Parenthood, then it’s clear to me that it’s been a while since you last attended a kids party. You know how that works for adults, right? While kids knock themselves out with balloons and candy, Parents gather up at a corner and take turns trying to convince the group how well they are doing in fostering powerhouses. It’s a tricky business trying to keep up with the Joneses, but for many parents out there and for reasons I will never grasp, promoting their family brand to make it appear favorable (even if there’s no option to recruit new members!) is a strategic priority they heavily invest on!
Responsibility #4: Serve as Leaders of Change
Modern human resource leaders frequently lead change initiatives for their organizations. The professionals are skilled at helping organizational stakeholders make the connection between change initiatives and strategic needs, minimizing change resistance and employee unrest. Shaping organizational culture, managing staff member satisfaction and weighing the success of change initiatives are all a part of the human resource professional’s scope of responsibility in the modern workplace.
Managing to change your whole existence, body and mindset to bring and receive a new life form into this world speaks volumes of the magnitude of Change that Parents get to experience. The only constant is change in a Parent’s life. Kids change, needs change, priorities change, so focus changes. A lot! And whether they know it or not, Parents naturally toggle with their ability to manage their kids’ expectations, emotions and satisfaction in a plastics and responsible way.
Responsibility #5: Advocate for Employees
While fulfilling their roles as employee advocates, HR executives play an integral part in the success of organizations. In this regard, human resource professionals contribute to building a work environment where employees feel satisfied and motivated. To promote this outcome, HR leaders deploy effective practices such as employee empowerment, goal setting and open communication, resulting in a positive culture that leads to the workforce delivering better consumer experiences.
Don’t tell me this part is any different than Mrs Mom cheerleading every time Little Fellow takes his first steps around the house without falling to his butt. Or the time Mr Dad was ecstatic to see Little Miss ride her first bike in the playground. Yes, the armory of any Parent worth their while is packed with tools for effective communication, positive interaction, and active listening. All leading to sustaining the best possible experience for their beloved Munchkins!
Responsibility #6: Provide Support for Domestic Violence Victims
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) forecasts that domestic violence can affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in the United States. The issue has grown so prevalent that employers can no longer afford to think of domestic violence as a matter best left to the local authorities. As a result, today’s HR professionals encourage those who’ve experienced domestic violence to seek help in the workplace. To encourage this, human resource professionals promote an organizational culture where staff members do not feel intimidated or ashamed to approach to HR employees with domestic violence concerns.
Meanwhile, the American Society for the Positive Care of Children (ASPCC) reports that 160,000 kids per day skips school for fear of being bullied. A sad 28% of U.S. students in grades 6-12 and 20% of U.S. students in grades 9-12 have already experienced bullying. Faced with such grave statistics, sensitized Parents aim at helping their kids let go of fear and shame that could prevent them from admitting of times when they may have fallen prey to bullies and their gangs.
Responsibility #7: Ensure No Cyberbullying At Work
Traditionally, workplace intimidation took place solely in the office. Today, however, the connectivity of the Internet extends the influence of bullies to victims’ personal workstations and homes, an activity called cyberbullying. Employees and supervisors know that this can happen in the workplace, yet dealing with office cyberbullying may prove challenging. Despite this, contemporary human resource executives strive to eliminate this kind of negative activity in the workplace.
With 6% of students in grades 6-12, 16% of high school students and 55.2% of LGBT students having experienced cyberbullying (source: ASPCC), no Mom or Dad feels safe not to take protective measures against it. Whether it’s parental controls on internet access or fostering open and positive communication channels with their children, the peril of cyber bullying leaves no Home indifferent.
So, there you have it. A back-to-back analogy between a Parent and a Human Resource professional that didn’t disappoint. They way I see it, the responsibilities of a Human Resource professional are no different (or more important) than those of a Parent. The two worlds, however different they may initially appear, actually have multiple bridges to join them, not canals that separate them!
This first attempt of mine to forge a link between the role of a Parent and that of a Human Resource professional, is somewhat complex and more lengthy to explain. However, it strives to showcase not only how the aforementioned work and home experiences are, in effect, deeply similar, but also hint on how a holistic viewpoint on the human experience -fueled by both home and work activities- can help us design better solutions that will lead us to a more sustainable Future of Work!