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Humans Aren’t Just Resources

4min read


When we talk about humans as resources, we’re making a mistake. Humans aren’t resources – they’re people.

One of the biggest issues you’ll find in growing any company’s culture is making sure that everyone feels like they’re a part of the team, a part of the mission and a part of the journey.

Creating that culture and positioning isn’t the job of one single person, it’s the job of every person, with every title, at every level.

But you know what? A core part of the culture is always going to come back to the HR folks, and the work that they do each day to get new hands on deck, help people navigate their jobs and keep the team safe.

That work is intensely personal.

It’s not about numbers, it’s about real people, facing real challenges, and it’s about helping them one on one in a way that can make them feel secure and know that they actually belong.

That personal work isn’t made any easier by a name that sometimes takes the personal touch right out of it.

When people talk about the work that HR teams do in terms of just managing resources, they’re stripping out the delicate and important parts of the job, and they’re bringing up images and ideas of spreadsheets, formulas, columns and calculations.

We know that when we’re talking to that brand new hire who’s nervous as anything on their first day, walking in the door with their fingers crossed, hoping they fit in and flourish, they are so much more than just a resource that can be managed and moved around.

They’re people, and they’re immediately going to become a part of the culture.

We know that when we’re onboarding them, introducing them to the company’s ideas and the way they work, when we’re showing them the ropes and the rules and how they’re going to get paid, these are all personal touch-points too.


That’s why People and Culture are the right words to use.

Every one of those personal touch-points is going to have an impact on the people and the culture of a company.

Every single one of them will determine the tone of the relationship that the staff have with each other, with the people who employ them and with their own workflows and goals.

When staff get onboarded, they’re engaging in and adding to the culture.

When they come in on a Monday morning after they’ve been paid for the first time and they share pictures of what their kids got up to on the weekend, they’re engaging in and contributing to and adding to the culture.

All of that is only possible because someone sat down with them and brought them into the company in the right way. It’s possible because they weren’t treated like a resource, they were treated in a considerate and welcoming way. It’s possible because they were treated like people and made a part of the culture.

What happens when we start to frame our job in that way, when we can get the company to understand and accept that our roles have nothing to do with pushing resources around like so many pens and stacks of paper? What happens when we can show them that our roles are about enabling people and enabling culture, through growth and nurturing and just treating people like…people?

It’s going to cause a shift in the way we understand how important we can be in every moment of the company’s life. Because we’re not the ones who are filling out forms and running a million cheeky spreadsheets. We’re the ones who are turning a collection of rules, swivel chairs and ping pong tables into a vibrant place to work that feels like home.

Human Resources is important, and we’re never going to take away from that. We just want to push the knowledge that it’s so much more than resources. It’s fostering a community of people who work together because they want to. Not because they were allocated.

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