So, you’re sick of talking about culture and engagement?


I’m not.

Earlier this year I vowed to answer negativity with positivity. In the past few weeks I have read a few blogs and articles about the death of engagement. There’s really nothing we can do.  That culture is like a yeti, not comprised of ping pong and Beer Friday.  It has a life of its own and is beyond difficult, if not impossible to influence.

I disagree.

When I think about people arriving at work like zombies. Going to a few meetings, scarfing down a jimmy-johns, doing some work, maybe some social media time, then going home – I feel very, very sad.  That is no way to spend a day much less YEARS of a life.

We have an obligation and responsibility to show up as leaders. And, Leader – doesn’t mean “the boss”.  According to Webster’s, leader means: a guiding or directing head. By that definition, anyone can lead. You lead by showing up.  By guiding and modeling By having the social awareness to ask with genuine concern about a co-workers dog, baby, weekend, softball team, highest level attainment of Halo… those gestures matters.  THAT is culture.

HR professionals are often charged with the duty of cultural ambassador. If you are an HR professional, how do you show up?  I hope you show up as a leader.  As a partner.  As a great listener. As someone who asks lots of questions and gives only a few answers.

When I worked some really awesome people at Baxa Corp, we had a great internal campaign called “Quality Begins with Me”. Quality matters everywhere and when you design, manufacture, and assemble products that save lives – it REALLY matters.

Culture Begins with You. Every single day you walk in to your workplace, log on to your IM or WebEx, enter the pin for that conference call. When you show up happy, angry, thoughtful, curious, passive, cranky, animated, content… THAT is culture. And it REALLY matters.

Written by Kathleen Brenk, CLx Co member, SPHR, SHRM-SCP CHRO & Chief of Staff @recondotech