A love letter to the People People

Dear People Person,

That’s probably not your title. Your title might be HR Manager, Hiring Manager, Chief of Staff, Happiness Guru. It might be Chief People Officer or Staffing Manager or Director of Employee Development. There’s no industry-standard title for you. But regardless of what they call you, here are some likely truths about your work life:

  • you hire people
  • you help people find their way to new projects
  • you don’t have the highest authority at the org
  • people confide in you

That last bullet tugs at your heartstrings a bit, doesn’t it? I don’t know what you studied, but you probably didn’t expect to end up where you did. You were probably someone who people have always confided in; even strangers in coffee shops pull you aside to share something about themselves.

It is your job to look at your current team, the current work landscape, and the financial realities… and to see ways forward. You’re in the eye of the hurricane, a calm patch in the middle of raise requests and difficult clients and broken printers.

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. I’ve been having coffee with some of you. It’s hard to find you because of the terrible SEO situation surrounding your title; people keep pushing the HR label on you, but over the past few months I am less and less convinced that you’re HR people.

You’re People People. And since that’s the best I’ve got so far, we’ll go with that for now.

I want you to know that your work isn’t a fluke, that the fact that you stumbled into it doesn’t mean it’s a lucky one-shot gig. I know this because I see an ENORMOUS amount of work for you out there. I know this because I thought my role previous to Plucky was exactly that – a lucky blip in the universe – but now I see that every organization needs you. Tech shops, carpentry shops, pharmaceutical companies and schools. They all need someone to help people do their best work. There is much opportunity for you to change individuals and groups and businesses every day.

Of course, you are probably feeling a bit of that anyway. Even when you’re caught in the squeeze of financials or leadership or employee advocacy, you feel that the tiny moments you spend with your employees change the tide in meaningful ways.

I consider it a graceful moment for the world that all of the above is true, that People People are valued and needed. I see leaders signing up for executive coaches at every turn. Technology, in today’s world, is ready for some self-awareness. Our industry is rich and the novelty of that has worn thin enough that we now search for more than money – now we want meaning and purpose in our work.

Today, this post is a love letter and a thank you note.

Thanks for all you do. Thanks for helping to hold the leaky roof up and for pointing out that, even through the cracks, we can all see the sky.

You make work a better place to be.