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Christina Lattimer

People Development Magazine


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Know-how + great HR = inspiration


Regular contributor 'Christinapd' tells the community a few secrets from the HR world.

Inspiration is the best way to motivate people. Or does it make you squirm?

You may be an HR professional, leader or manager relying on HR to help move your business forward. When discussing strategy with people of different roles at many levels, I have often been met with a perplexed look when I have mentioned that the role of the HR professional is to help the business to be inspirational. Many people feel much more comfortable with descriptors like credible, respected, focused, performance-led... well I could go on and on.
So what does inspiration mean and why do many people not relate to it?  The free dictionary gives the following definition of inspiration.
  • Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity. Or the condition of being so stimulated.
  • An agency, such as a person or work of art that moves the intellect or emotions or prompts action or invention.
  • Something, such as a sudden creative act or idea that is inspired.
  • The quality of inspiring or exalting: eg a painting full of inspiration.
  • Divine guidance or influence exerted directly on the mind and soul of humankind.
  • The act of drawing in, especially the inhalation of air into the lungs.
For me, inspiration is about tapping into the true self of a person and helping them to engage emotionally, intellectually and physically with a situation or cause which resonates with their values. No mean feat huh?
For you as an enlightened leader, manager or HR professional, you may be well ahead of me. However, If you aren't sure how, you might be asking 'us that the role of HR?'
"For me, inspiration is about tapping into the true self of a person and helping them to engage emotionally, intellectually and physically with a situation or cause which resonates with their values."
Some people will prefer other expressions, such as 'gain commitment', 'going the extra mile', 'employee engagement', 'performance management', to name but a few. There is nothing wrong with these ways of expressing how you get the best from your people. The questions are; are you inspiring your people to be the best? and; is the task of inspiring your people something HR should be involved in?
I believe that it is. If HR is going to be at the top table, and bring real value, it needs to understand the equation of 'know-how + great HR = inspiration' and it goes like this:
  • Great HR professionals know how people tick. They understand why people like words like 'inspiration' and why other people prefer words like 'respected'. They understand how to motivate people and why some people will never be motivated unless you pivot them in a certain way.
  • They understand the dynamics of their organisation; how people relate to each other, and the dominant dynamic which is in place. If their organisation is a caring sharing one, for example, they know what the big no-no's are which might shatter the brand it has consciously or unconsciously developed
  • They are great at all levels of the HR offer. They understand how to develop people strategy, as well as pay people on time. The policies they develop reflect the desired outcomes and culture as well as mirror the values of the company.
  • They make sure that the products they develop and the frameworks they set out include the right information and are in a format which is understood by everyone. Most importantly, they know how to get them to people in the right way so they absorb them.
  • They understand the business inside out. They know how their CEO and the board ticks and they are committed to helping the business become a success, because they share the vision and values of the organisation.
  • They care about people, know that people are the organisation's greatest resource, and so they take care to inspire them.
What do you think? Are you an inspirational leader, manager or HR professional? Are you managed by someone truly inspirational?
'Christinapd' runs the People Discovery blog

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Christina Lattimer


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