This week on The Geeks Geezers and Googlization Show we’re talking about the #MeToo movement and its effects on the culture of HR as we know it. Rebecca Weaver and Nickolett Hocking from HR Uprise lead us in an eye-opening discussion regarding “disruptive HR”, the #MeToo movement, and how Human Resource departments wield so much more power than they realize.
In the wake of #MeToo and the conversations it has stirred up within the past year, Rebecca and Nickolett wondered why they were seeing so many powerful leaders in the entertainment industry being held accountable, but when it came to leaders in business, no one was being called out. It was these discussions that led the two to start HR Uprise.
Knowing that business leaders and HR departments are a huge proponent in driving the culture of the business workplace forward, Rebecca and Nickolett established HR Uprise as a channel through which sexism and racism in the workplace may be eradicated.
Curious, I asked Nickolett what, initially, the reception of this idea looked like. She responded, “When we first put out this idea of ‘disruptive HR’, it was encouraging to see other ‘black sheep’ HR workers step out in agreement and support of what we were doing.”
Additionally, both Rebecca and Nickolett thought it incredibly revealing to see the sparked interest of non-HR employees desperate for change, reaching out and asking them to come and speak to their own workplaces’ HR departments. I agreed with both of the ladies in saying that if the public response for help witnessed by them doesn’t show a problem within the current climate of our workplaces, then what does?
Nickolett also added, “We hear over and over NOT to go to HR for harassment issues, that HR exists to protect the company, not the employees.” But HR really does have more control and power than is being recognized… and it’s the power to change this perception of what HR is and does that needs to be realized.
Another highlight during my discussion with Rebecca and Nickolett was on the point that HR departments need to realize that they aren’t limited to only taking action on harassment when held to its legal definition alone.
A core principle of HR Uprise (and an important one), stands on the fact that if, as an HR team, all you’re focusing on is resolving legal level harassment issues, then you’re doing the bare minimum for your company and your employees.
All too often, perfectly legal but completely inappropriate conversations and actions happen between employees that can and should still be handled and resolved by HR. In fact, better than resolving these issues after the fact, HR Uprise seeks to provide employees and their respective HR departments with an entirely new workplace climate and culture so that these unnecessary moments don’t happen in the first place.
So, what does HR Uprise say is the first step toward propelling companies in the right direction when it comes to the topics that the #MeToo movement has surfaced?
Rebecca reflects on the time she’s spent with clients directing what she prefers to call “Allied Training”. Allied Training is a method where employees meet in a room together, and while HR Uprise is there to lead the discussion and answer questions, the majority of the time is spent with the employees having an open and honest discussion with each other. Initially, the conversation usually starts with plenty of “what if” questions.
What if something happens outside of work, on the weekend, between a supervisor and an employee, etc.?
Rebecca counters these types of questions with a question to the group, “What do you think should happen?” or “What behavior do you want from your fellow employees?”
The end result of these Allied Training discussions is a productive and thoughtful time where in the end, the employees leave the room in agreement and on the same page as to what is and what is not acceptable in their workplace. When employees know not just the legal standard for workplace behavior, but also their co-worker’s personal standards, the “culture” of the workplace changes and becomes an open, respectful, and comfortable one.
In short, it’s time to open up the dialogue between employees, their co-workers, and HR. Cultivating the right culture in a workplace starts with conversations that establish the right climate and alter archaic perceptions between employees, their peers, and HR.
Follow HR UP on Instagram: @hruprise
Connect with Rebecca Weaver on Linkedin
Connect with Nickolett Hocking on Linkedin