Why Are There No HR Professional Role Models?’ and Other Musings

A new generation of HR professionals have already entered the workforce and they bring with them a new set of strategies and sensibilities. Meet Pearlie Oni, Senior Manager of Employee Experience at RedPeg Marketing. In today’s column, we discuss everything from a people-oriented approach to HR to why HR has no apparent role models.

On your LinkedIn page, it says, “Not your mother’s HR lady. Let’s shake things up.” What does that mean?

“I think Millennials like me working in the HR field were trained in the ways that HR has been done, which hasn’t always necessarily been very user-friendly. HR has a very serious role in the organization. Because of that, we’ve always taken a very serious stance as to what we do. By nature, HR is a field that is sort of risk-averse. Because part of what we do is to try to mitigate risks, we can let that fear of taking risks filter into other aspects of our job. That has always hindered innovation and forward-thinking in HR. I think part of the job of the new generation of HR professionals is to introduce innovation into the field and really get to know our users—the employees—and know what they are looking for and what they need so that we can support them in the best way possible.”

So how do you individually challenge the status quo?

“I try every day to understand that I’m here to serve the employee. That was the first idea that I had in HR that I felt like wasn’t necessarily what I’d been taught because I think a lot of times, you’re taught that you’re here to serve the company and you have to do what’s in its best interest, even if it means that the employee gets the short end of the stick. I’ve always felt a little bit differently. I personally cannot point to a single time that an HR professional serves the employee and it ends badly for the employer. The way that employment laws and everything are set up, you get in trouble if you screw over the employees, and you don’t get in trouble if you treat them well. So by serving the employees, you, in turn, are serving the employer, and they really do go hand in hand that way.

“I try coming in every day with the mind-set that the employer is my user and that I’m trying to provide the absolute best experience for it every step of the way. Even though you sometimes have to do some not-so-nice things as an HR person, you should always do them in a way that’s fair and that’s kind and that treats people like people, not like resources.”

How do you approach doing some of those not-so-nice things?


Read on HR Daily Advisor to see the rest of Pearlie’s answers.

RedPeg Marketing is an independent brand engagement marketing agency. Since 1995, we’ve created experiences that inspire extraordinary memories.