Aug 13, 2018
Robin Schooling is ‘America’s HR Lady’ and has been Laurie’s
dear friend for quite some time. Despite that, Laurie has been
putting off the HR episode because, frankly, HR has a bad
reputation for fixing work. It took someone like Robin, who is
breaking stereotypes around the globe, to make this episode
possible. In today’s episode, Laurie and Robin talk about a slew of
HR-related issues, from discrimination to whether HR is really
- What does it take to get the title, ‘America’s HR Lady,’ from
Laurie? Robin has been in the HR profession for a long time. During
her two decades of HR experience, she worked across many fields:
healthcare, academia, banking, gaming, and that’s just to name a
few. In other words, she’s pretty much done it all. And when asked
how to fix work, Robin’s first question was how we would fix
- Robin has a fantastic analogy on the state of work – it’s a
hemophiliac who has fallen down too often and gotten too many
bruises. Work might be broken, but it’s in the ER and needs urgent
care if it’s going to be saved. Robin shares how she thinks we got
there, based on her wide breadth of experience. She also dives into
the power shift happening between job seekers, employees, and
employers. The day of reckoning is at hand.
- Robin admits that HR is certainly part of the problem of work
being broken, and the reason she gives is that HR as a department
isn’t really sure where to place itself in the conversation. It
started out as being very insular, and over the years, things have
improved. But not enough. While HR departments have come to
understand business, the next step is for them to understand the
world. And what does that mean exactly? Robin explains.
- There’s also a fine line that many HR people must straddle: the
needs of the employees and the needs of the business. Sound
familiar? Robin says it’s a ‘cop out’ in many ways. Sure, there
might be a bit of truth in it, but ultimately, being an advocate
for both the business and the employees isn’t mutually exclusive.
It’s not one or the other, and that’s where many HR people
- You’ve heard it many times – employees are fighting HR to get
something they need. So why should anyone care about HR? Robin
reminds us all that HR isn’t a faceless mass out to get you. They
are your co-workers and they are people, too. In fact, Robin’s
experience with other HR people is that they got into it for the
right reasons and with a good heart.
- Recruiting is a huge part of human resources; it’s one of the
happiest times for both HR and employee. But according to Robin,
those good feelings don’t carry over. She offers the great idea of
doing the same with employees as they navigate within the company,
whether it’s handling health care, mediating disagreements, or even
changing positions within the company. Ultimately, this
little-by-little change is fueled by people caring for one another.
And equally as important, HR people need to bring the stories of
employee realities to leaders.
- Laurie asks if she’s naïve for believing that if we fix
ourselves, we wouldn’t need HR, and Robin’s reply is priceless. In
truth, HR as we know it will always be there. It has to be to
ensure things are done according to legal requirements. Even with
the automation that is becoming far more common, and Robin talks
about why humans will always be needed in human resources.
- What is the future of HR? Robin sees it splitting into two
separate departments or having two divisions within the same
department: administration and people. The administration side
deals with compliance, payroll, PTO, and the other dry things,
while the people department works with employees to help them
understand what’s happening, as well as growth and
- Are businesses and their HR departments ready for the reckoning
that is coming? In fact, Robin believes that HR, at least, is
poised for the shift. So what positions are in danger? Is the
generalist here to stay? What about the firefighter? Robin shares
her thoughts on who had better be ready to adapt to new roles and
dive into specialties in the near future.
- So what does the future of HR look like? Robin has settled on a
phrase: she is an advocate of the workplace revolution. It’s time
to change – not only should you be an advocate and ally of the
people who hired you, you should also be an advocate and ally to
those who come to you with their work-related issues. It sounds
simple, right? Robin reveals what it actually entails.
The DIY HR Handbook
Wouldn't you love to get your hands on Laurie's no-holds-barred,
honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!
Carnival of HR