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Enemy Within

“Did I do the right thing?”

“Is the company going to get sued?”

“Did we violate one of the many new regulations that seem to keep coming?”

“Is my job now on the line?”


Human Resources professionals face more challenges today than ever before. Any reasonable person would believe the laws that have been passed to protect all employees would certainly suffice. Yet, external parties, government agencies, and old school thinking from many organizational leaders continue to give the impression that the life of an HR practitioner is doomed to processing forms and trying to hide from anything confrontational or impactful.

Enemy – Self Talk

One of the most significant challenges for today’s HR pro is the ability to power through the ever present self talk that guides us in our work. The questions we ask ourselves, the decision-making process we use, and the resources we use to get to a productive end point are incredibly important. If my self talk is based on the premise that I need to ensure I never make a bad decision, therefore preserving my job, then its quite likely that I will be the stereotypical ineffective HR guy who never gets any respect.

Sad, but true.

If however, we re-program our self talk mantras to include messages that challenge us to live the mission of our organizations; or take calculated risks; or try new approaches that are not familiar, then we are changing our HR practice.

Now you can almost see that seat at the table, can’t you?

Enemy – Corporate Culture

Another major challenge HR faces is the environment where they work. If the culture of your organization is one based on old school command and control leadership, it is highly unlikely that you will make any meaningful difference in your work.

The inability of executives to see the many opportunities available to human resources teams to source, connect with, and recruit talent will not happen in a culture that still believes fax machines are modern tools for business.

Sad, but true.

Enemy – You

woman-looking-in-mirrorThe last battle we all have to face is not a clueless executive who thinks social media is a fad; or the phrases you have been programmed to chant over and over in your head. The final step to moving into the modern world is about reaching out.

That’s right. You need to get connected. You need to learn the tools that HR leaders should be using today. Whether this means using apps like this and this; or going social on Linkedin, twitter, and Facebook, it’s up to you to get started. I continue to be surprised at how few HR leaders actually take advantage of the amazing tools available today.

Do you actually still take notes on a piece of paper in meetings? What do you do with all of that paper anyway? What does your desk look like? I thought so…

We’re not going to be able to move our profession forward if we’re still acting like we’re overworked and jumping like an alley cat every time a rule changes. Maybe it’s time we actually shifted gears and moved into the modern world.

Who’s with me?

photo credit | photo credit


Jay Kuhns, SPHR has served as the Vice President of Human Resources for All Children’s Hospital/Johns Hopkins Medicine in St. Petersburg, FL since 2008, and has nearly two decades of human resources experience in the healthcare industry.  He gets fired up about lots of things including social media, his leadership blog NoExcusesHR, doing HR differently, and watching more hockey than anyone should.


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  1. Great post, Jay! I definitely agree with you that the role of the HR professional is changing – it seems to me that the HR position is becoming more and more ingrained in overall business strategy from recruiting to employee success. It’s up to the HR team to dictate and uphold a meaningful corporate culture, strategize ways to keep employees engaged, and remain on the cutting edge of technology and modern practice, just as the rest of the company should be focused on. It’s an exciting evolution!

  2. Great article, Jay. As a HR professional I see how many other HR pro wait for an invitation to the executive table, without an invitation. I think is because the executive team dont feel HR could be innovative to the business. If we become more savvy with the modern world and proof we could be innovative, I believe the results will be the open invitation with a seat always available for HR at the executive table.

  3. Great message Jay. Yes, I do still take meeting notes on paper and that needs to change!

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