Friday, June 20, 2014

Taking Initiative


I hate firing people. It's my least favorite part of being an HR professional. When someone gets fired, not only did the individual fail, but I can't help but to feel like the organization failed the individual.

I ask myself, what more could we have done to keep this employee? Did we effectively communicate the resources that the employee has at their disposal? Did we have them in the right job that accentuates their strengths and diminishes their weaknesses? Is our organizational structure conducive to success?

But, then, I remember this long lost concept known as Personal Responsibility. Yes, as an HR professional, it is my task to ensure that the organization is structured correctly, that training & development opportunities exist and are communicated, and to keep both the employer and the employee informed of and compliant with ever changing labor laws (to name but a few responsibilities).

However, the employee has to have some skin in the game as well. The employee has to make sure that they show up on time, are competent at their jobs (maintain licenses and certifications), provide excellent customer service to our patients and each other, and take an active role in shaping their own future in relation to training, development, and career advancement.

I'm afraid that, as Dr. Lovell alluded to in his quote, we have developed a society where people wait for things to happen instead of making things happen. In organizations, it may be a bureaucratic reporting structure that formalizes development at the expense of flexibility and creativity. But, what is it about people, as individuals, and society as a whole that breeds this lack of initiative? I'm not sure, but I'm guessing that allowing a 26 year old to stay on their parent's health insurance is a symptom of whatever IT is.

I encouraged the person that I had to let go today to take control of their life. They can create the future that they want if they are willing to make the sacrifices necessary. I encouraged them not to look at being fired as a sad thing, which is difficult to do when you're the one being fired, but as an opportunity to grow and become the person they are destined to be. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, but you don't have to be a passive observer in your own life's journey.

As the sage Manly Palmer Hall once wrote, only those who live the cause can produce the effect.

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