Should HR Pros Be Held to a Higher Standard?

As you know, I attended SHRM17 in New Orleans and had a blast. I’m so glad I took the plunge and invested in my professional development. Luckily I was able to take advantage of a discounted rate because I volunteered at SHRM16.

Screen-Shot-2014-05-15-at-11.54.06-AMThe entertainment for this year’s concert was Harry Connick, Jr. I like HCJ as much as the next person but I wanted to get out and explore New Orleans a bit rather than sit in the convention center after being there all day so I didn’t attend the concert. However, I did see quite a few comments about it on the conference community site. These comments were less about the concert itself and more about the behavior of the concertgoers. Behavior such as rushing the stage, standing in the aisles, taking photos – you know, typical concert behavior.

“Oh my goodness, I can’t believe HR professionals would behave this way!”

“HR professionals shouldn’t rush the stage to take photos! Photos weren’t allowed. How can you enforce rules at work and not follow them here??”

“I’ve never been so disappointed in a group of HR professionals!”

You get the gist. So I’m reading these comments thinking “are y’all serious?” Apparently, they were based on the responses to my query. This got me thinking – is there an expectation that people who work in HR should behave differently than others when outside of work? Are we, or should we be, held to a higher standard in our private/social lives because of our chosen profession? To add another layer to this, if this expectation exists, is it widely held or is it only held in some HR circles?

Don’t get me wrong, I have a couple of concerts lined up this year that I paid good money for and if folks decide to stand in the way and block my view, I’m gonna be peeved, to say the least. So I get that part. I definitely believe in exercising common courtesy and a basic level of decorum. Not because I work in HR, but because I’m a somewhat decent human being. Do unto others and all that jazz. But this mindset that working in HR should somehow influence your behavior outside of work threw me for a loop. Especially because I saw it from multiple people. That has never occurred to me.

So what say you, readers? HR by day, at night we play? HR always in all ways?

Let me know your thoughts.

8 thoughts on “Should HR Pros Be Held to a Higher Standard?

  1. Jewel Thurman says:

    My answer is: the standard that HR should have is to treat everyone with respect and in a manner you would want be treated-on and off the clock.

    Translation to the concert would be if someone asks you to sit, be polite and sit or move where you can stand and dance and enjoy the music. I didn’t see any signs or directives that people couldn’t congregate by the stage and along with the absence of security saying same, then no rule was broken.

    • tmrasberry says:

      I absolutely agree with that standard, Jewel. For EVERYONE. I would expect the same from anyone, regardless of profession. Conversely, I would treat people that way even if I was in a different profession. I know that public officials, police officers and even teachers are often held to a higher standard of behavior (though they often don’t live up to it) but I can think of few other professions where a person is expected to behave a certain way off the clock. Again, common courtesy goes a long way and should be the standard across the board. Thanks for reading & commenting!

  2. Janelle Rodriguez says:

    While being an HR Professional is a career choice, and a passionate one at that…it doesn’t mean we have to shed or hide other aspects of our personality that make up who we are or what makes us tick. I am of the strong belief that outside of business hours, we have the right to engage in behavior & activities that suit us…within reason of course and legal! Definitley “HR by day, at night we play”.

  3. Kristina H. Minyard, SHRM-CP, PHR says:

    Here’s what I think… we should use our knowledge and experience to make good decisions throughout our day (at work, home, grocery store, etc.). HR pros are people too so we should be held to human standards I guess. I read the discussion post about the concert (and talked about it on Snapchat-are you on snapchat btw?), and I thought it was a little much. Concerts are concerts… I’d love for everyone to sit down in front of me when I want to sit down and watch the performance, but that rarely happens no matter who is at the concert so why change your expectations for this one?

    • tmrasberry says:

      Thank you for your comment, Kristina. You hit the nail on the head with this statement “HR pros are people too so we should be held to human standards.” I totally agree. No; I’m not on Snapchat – I’m camera shy. 😉

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