HR on the Couch: an Invitation to Self-Reflection

06 September 2016 | 2 min read


This title might be perceived as slightly provocative and the topic itself even as a taboo, but I have thought about HR in this way quite a bit over the last years, because I care.

I would like to invite you, dear HR community, to some self-reflection today. Not on your skills, organisational setting or strategy -that you probably do often anyway-, but on yourself: your posture and motivation, your behaviour, your beliefs and convictions, your contradictions, your own strengths and your weaknesses. 

In my 20+ years of working around the world in, for and with HR I came across the strangest situations – some of them more or less funny if it hadn’t been for their serious consequences sometimes.

I have seen HR departments with no HR structure to support the development of their own people. I witnessed HR teams struggling to apply the principles they preach. I met an HR director whose only dream was to go back to engineering, and another one with an alcohol problem. I met a few people who were still working in HR although they actually did not identify with the organisational values they were supposed to represent and defend. And a few others -the last years more and more- who simply quit HR because they could not find happiness and satisfaction anymore in what they were doing.

I know that we are all just human and that nobody is expected to be happy all the time. But are those observations not reason enough to step back for a moment and look at HR from another perspective?  

HR is in lots of ways similar, but at the same time somewhat different from other functions in the organisation. It has to do with the role. Your raison d´être is of course to support the business but you are also a human being working on topics that have a direct impact on other human beings. Likewise, you are both the subject and the object of your own actions. The potential there for inner conflicts and unconscious bias is huge, as is the risk to overlook our blind spots. I have been there.

What about you? What kind of questions do you ask yourself right now about your HR role? Are you proud to be in HR? Are you happy to do what you do? Or do you see areas for improvement in your situation and/or your HR environment? There are so many questions you may ask yourself, and they all have an impact on the way you do your job and on your personal satisfaction. The clearer we are about the answers for the questions we ask ourselves, the better and the happier we become.

Don´t hesitate to reach out to me if you want to explore these questions further for yourself. You can also download the chapter I wrote about this topic: HR on the Couch: Coaching for HR_”Der Personaler auf der Couch”This text is part of the book about Strategic HR published in German by Haufe. You can get one for free as part of our work together: Schluesselfaktor Strategisches Personalmanagement.

Drissia Schroeder-Hohenwarth is a Senior Transformative Coach for Executives, Teams and Organisations. Feel free to visit: DSH International HR.

If you liked the illustration you will find the author here: Thomas Haubold Illustration


Written by Drissia Schroeder-Hohenwarth

Transformative Coach for Leaders, Teams and Organisations with a fascination for the endless potential of the mind.

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