In this episode, host Becca Banyard is joined by Dr. Keri Ohlrich—CEO at Abbracci Group—to share what the role of HR really is, how leaders can empower and support HR managers, and how HR professionals can use something called the CHARGE framework to drive business impact.
- Keri’s background [1:21]
- Went to school for Global HR Business & Psychology, and then ended up doing a PhD in Human Development and organizational systems.
- Originally from the Midwest – now lives in Southern California.
- What is the role of HR being in an organization? [3:34]
- It’s one of the most important departments — HR has the most amazing power to help create the environment and the culture. The leaders own it, but HR helps and creates it.
- HR gets to do great work for the business and making sure they’re getting their goals aligned and driving their results.
- HR helps employees change their outlook and gives them a great place to work.
- What are some of the common misconceptions around the role of HR? [5:39]
- The perception for HR is we hire and fire—but in reality, we facilitate that, we don’t make that decision.
- HR can disagree with the business leaders. But at the end of the day, it is the business leader who makes the decision to hire or fire someone.
- Some people think HR are party planners and they’re just there to make sure employees are happy.
- HR people facilitate things and they can be really strategic. They are the grease that makes the whole business run.
- What are some challenges that HR is currently facing? [8:29]
- Sometimes HR is only as good as the leadership.
- HR gets hamstrung by leadership, probably more so than other departments, because they don’t have a real product in a way that they can just deliver.
- Leadership is always our co-creator. We might be wonderful HR warriors, but if the culture is really bad, it’s tough. So we’re very dependent on leadership.
- What is an HR warrior? [9:59]
- Keri co-wrote a book titled “The Way of the HR Warrior”
- Someone who’s passionate about making an impact at the organizational and the employee level. You are making an impact where the business views you as an equal—they want you, they’re inviting you in and you’re just an equal player.
An HR Warrior is someone who’s passionate about making an impact at the organizational and the employee level. They want you. They’re inviting you in and you’re just an equal player.DR. Keri Ohlrich
- How can someone become an HR warrior? [10:53]
- Dr. Keri and Monica thought about writing the book because they were frustrated with the perception of HR. They were wondering why some did so well and why others didn’t. And so they actually asked business leaders, “Why do you like this? And what is it that makes you want to have us in the meeting and others not?”
- In HR, there’s a lot of talk around having a seat at the table and being a strategic partner. And so when you’re in HR, they just tell you, “You need to be a strategic partner” — but they don’t tell you how.
- In the book they talk about something called the CHARGE framework.
- C is for Courage – Do you have the courage to use your voice for the employees when they need to?
- H is for Humility – People think we should know everything, so saying “I don’t know” is really tough for HR people. We don’t run the business, we facilitate. HR can get jaded if the leaders aren’t taking your advice.
- A is for Accuracy – It’s asking ‘why’ and getting to the root cause, not just putting on a bandaid.
- R is for Resilience
- G is for Goal orientation – HR goals have to be tied to the business goals. You need to be able to say what you’re doing and how it applies to your business’s goals
- E is Exemplary – HR is on a stage, usually because they helped them get hired, or asked them to do training. We have to walk the talk.
- Where should an HR manager start in order to implement the CHARGE framework in their own practice? [17:34]
- HR people usually need help with accuracy and exemplary.
- In the book they have some exercises for people because they really wanted it to be action oriented.
- You can pick one that you know you do really well and make that your superpower. And then figure out the one that you’re not good at and then work on it.
- How can leaders empower and support HR managers to be the best they can be? [22:47]
- As a leader, being self-aware to even know what you want out of HR to begin with. Look at your own baggage.
- Leaders should treat HR like any other department – it’s not an afterthought. They’re not just there for when you want to fire someone. They’re there to really help you think through all the issues that are going on at work – from engagement to finding the right talent, to making sure you have the right talent for the long run and the short term.
- Leaders need to create an environment where they’re included. What leadership says in front of others about HR means something too.
- HR is a profession, and so hire professionals.
- Keri’s advice for HR Managers who want to excel in their career but are being placed under a ceiling of expectations that may be dragging them down [26:33]
- There’s some soul searching to do for HR managers. Too many HR people stay with a company that doesn’t want HR – you’re not going to be successful, let it go and find a new role.
- As an individual, you have to find out why you’re in HR. It’s a hard profession. It’s not for everyone.
If you can get right with your ‘why’, you can survive HR for a long time.Dr. Keri Ohlrich
- What is the number one thing that keeps employees happy in the workplace? [28:15]
- They want a manager who cares about them. Super simple, hard to do, but that’s all they really want.
- What do you personally need in order to be a successful leader? [29:38]
- A team—leaders who are really great and who mean well, a good manager and co-workers.
Meet Our Guest
Dr. Keri Ohlrich is on a mission to improve the environment of organizations which in turn improves the lives of employees. As the CEO and co-founder of Abbracci Group, she is a speaker, co-host of the reCHARGE® Your Life podcast, and co-author of the book, The Way of the HR Warrior. Whether it is coaching and training leaders, performing cultural/psychometric assessments or helping develop HR professionals into HR Warriors, she wants all to reach their potential.
Throughout her career, Dr. Ohlrich has held leadership positions at a variety of organizations ranging from start-up to Fortune 500 companies. In her previous roles, she has created and implemented HR processes, redesigned the talent function for an organization serving 25,000 global employees, led change management for a new business strategy, and overhauled the Human Resources department to one that was recognized as a trusted advisor to business leaders.
Keri resides in Southern California with her husband, son, and two Dachshunds.
HR has the most amazing power to help create the environment and the culture. The leaders own it, but HR helps and creates it.Dr. Keri Ohlrich
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- Connect with Keri on LinkedIn
- Check out Abbracci Group
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Read The Transcript:
We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.
Becca Banyard: There are a lot of misconceptions about HR. I bet you even have two or three in mind already. But the reality is that HR is underestimated and underutilized for the level of impact that they could have. So what truly is the role of HR? What are the misconceptions about HR's function and how can you overcome them to make a greater impact in your organization?
Welcome to the People Managing People podcast. We're on a mission to build a better world of work and to help you create happy, healthy, and productive workplaces. I'm your host, Becca Banyard.
Today I'm joined by Dr. Keri Ohlrich, an HR veteran with over 20 years of experience and CEO of Abbracci Group, an HR consulting firm. She's gonna be sharing with us what the role of HR really is, how leaders can empower and support HR managers, and how HR professionals can use something called the CHARGE framework to drive business impact. So stay tuned!
Keri, welcome to the show. So great to have you here today.
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: Thank you so much for having me, Becca. I'm honored to be here.
Becca Banyard: Of course. So we're gonna be diving into what it takes to make impact in your organization as an HR manager. But I'd first love to just learn a little bit more about you. If you could just share just a bit about your background and what you do.
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: That's like the hardest question you're gonna ask me the entire time, Becca, because I don't know how to compress my like a hundred years, it feels like of working in life into three sentences. But let me try. So a) never thought I'd be in HR. So funny that I have a book now. So never started off that way.
Started off in psychology, started off in wanting to help people so you can see a thread starting, making an impact. Then went to school for Global HR, Business in Psychology, and then ended up doing a PhD in Human Development and then organizational systems. So if you think of HR, what is it?
It's all systems and the individual. So it all came together. And so originally from the Midwest, now live in Southern California. And I have had a career starting off in really big HR organizations. So seeing HR done at a 300 person level, which I didn't know any better, so I thought they were all that big.
It was like, ah, wow, we have money and people, and like amazing. And then realizing, oh no, that's not everything. That's not everywhere. And so did a lot of the strategic work around performance management, was a generalist, ran employee relations center. So had some HR jobs in big organizations at headquarters, and then also did some startup.
And then in 2016, I moved out to Southern California. My then business partner friend, then friend, not business partner yet, she also moved for a different job. Not planned. We did not plan this. And all of a sudden we said, you know what? We should probably start a business together. It's about the same time that Monica and I wrote the book, and so it all just came together and now we are, what, six years?
We're gonna be going on our seventh year together as business partners and it's amazing. So we get to help HR people, we get to help companies do the HR, we get to help teams and coach. So it's beautiful.
Becca Banyard: So good. I'm so excited to have you here today. You're such an expert in HR and I'm sure you have so much, just amazing insights to share. So let's jump into all things HR today. What do you see the role of HR being in an organization?
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: I see it, well, I know we'll talk Becca about how others may see it, but I see it as one of the most important departments. So I hear you sales people who are like, we of course, are the most important cuz we bring in revenue and I totally get that and you're my favorite.
However, once you bring in the revenue, what the hell are you gonna do with it and how are you gonna manage it and how does the product get made or the services get rendered, whatever that is. I think HR has this most amazing power to help create the environment and the culture. The leaders own it, but HR helps and creates it.
And then you also get to be this amazing employee advocate at the same time. So you get to do this great work for the business and make sure they're getting their goals aligned and driving their results. But then you can also really step in and help employees and change their outlook and give them a great place to work.
And at the end, I always say I really start off as quite a hippie and just wanting everyone to love each other and have a really nice life. And why can't you make a giant impact in the world and why can't you do the right thing? And HR kind of gives me that. You can really impact people's lives because if you create a good environment, that person goes home, they're in a better mood and they're nicer to their family.
And I'm not saying everyone's mean. If you're right, I'm not trying to say, I'm saying, but when you're in a better place at work, it trickles down to your family, it trickles down to when you come home. You have more energy to do whatever you need to do when you get home and you're not upset and concerned about what's going on at work.
And it's beautiful and you can change the world that way. And if we had more joy and happier people in the world, maybe we wouldn't have such negativity and issues that we have with some of the things that are going on right now.
Becca Banyard: Absolutely. It's so impactful. So now that we know your perspective, what do you think is the common perspective of the general public of what the function of HR as an organization, what misconceptions perhaps exist around the HR function?
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: I know, this is where I went before I pass away. Making it sound like I'm super old right now, Becca. I'm not like, she's not. I know it might take a while. I would love it for people to go, oh my God HR, that's that frigging kick butt department.
That's amazing. I wanna go there instead of doing, oh, it's HR. Like I really want a 180 flip on what people think. I would love to see a movie, a TV show, anything that HR is the star and not the Toby in the office. For those of you who've ever watched The Office...
Becca Banyard: Oh my goodness, yes.
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: There are so many more examples. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has a great example of, I just have to digress for one second. I think, oh God, I can't remember her friend's name, but he was dating someone. And he named his daughter Linda. And he said, you can't name Linda, that's the HR name. And he said, I'll prove it to you. And they went to any big corporate office in New York and they said, I would like to talk to Linda in HR.
And they said, which Linda? Linda R, Linda S, or Linda V? And I went, oh my God. And what I would love is that not to be the joke, right? I would love for that to just give it to someone else, just please not HR for right now. And so I think the perception is very much we hire and fire, so let's take that one for, we facilitate that, we don't make that decision.
And I think this is where a lot of people think HR makes that decision. Like we just walk around and go, we're gonna hire that person, or we're gonna fire that person. That's absolutely not true at all. We facilitate it and sometimes I think what people don't know is we can very much disagree with the business leaders.
But at the end of the day, it is the business leader who makes that decision. So I might not want to hire that person, or I might not want to fire that person, but at the end of the day, we advise and counsel, but the business leader makes that decision. So I think some people give us way too much power and think that we do that and oh, the manager does nothing.
It's not true. And then I just think some people think we're party planners and we're just there to make sure you're happy cuz you have water. Instead of making sure you're happy cuz you have meaningful work, you have goals. It's very clear what we expect from you, that's very different from here's some kombucha.
So I think I would love for people to realize that we facilitate things and we're not just party planner and we can be really strategic. And we are the grease that really makes the whole business run.
Becca Banyard: So with those misconceptions in mind, what challenges do you see HR facing currently? Is there anything holding them back because of these misconceptions that isn't allowing them to be as impactful as they should be?
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: Yeah, I think this is where, when I was saying how we facilitate. Sometimes HR is only as good as the leadership. So, let me give you an example. You could be an HR warrior, you could be the best HR person in the world, and you could have all these ideas on how I want Becca to be treated and how I want to be rated and given raises and things like that.
But if the leadership says, "No, we're not gonna do that", if I say, "No, Becca needs to get a pay increase because she isn't as paid as much as her male counterpart." I can't just give you money. I need the leadership to do something. So I think HR gets hamstrung by leadership, probably more so than other departments, because we don't have a real product in a way that we can just deliver.
And despite leadership is always our co-creator. And we might be wonderful warriors, but if the culture is really bad, if you have a leader, pick a leader in the headlines right now. Maybe with a little blue bird, but I'm just saying if you know that leader, I don't care what HR you have. If the leader's going around and firing people and doing all this kind of stuff, you can be a warrior, but it's really tough. So we're very dependent on leadership.
Becca Banyard: So I think this is a great segue cuz you mentioned HR warrior in your response. So you co-wrote a book titled The Way of the HR Warrior, so what is an HR warrior?
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: Just bottom line, it's someone who's really effing good at their job, right? So now let me try to make it a little bit more detail on it.
So it's really someone who's passionate about making an impact at the organizational level and the employee level. And you are making an impact where the business views you as an equal, right? They're not the, oh yeah, I gotta think of HR about that. They want you. They're inviting you in and you're just an equal player.
But it's really someone who takes that passion and wants to make a difference, and wants to make an impact. That's really what an HR Warrior is. It sounds really easy, it's hard to do.
Becca Banyard: Oh, I'm sure.
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: Yeah.
Becca Banyard: So then how can somebody become an HR warrior?
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: Yeah. Becca, thanks for asking. It's almost like we planned it that way, Becca.
So in the book, we have a model. Because when Monica and I thought about writing this book, it was because we were frustrated with HRs perception and with some of our colleagues. And we were wondering why some did so well and why others weren't. And so we actually asked business leaders, why do you like this?
Why do you like Monica? Why do you like Keri? And why don't you like Jim or something? And what is it that makes you want to have us in the meeting and others not? And say these things, which I've heard too many times. I want this also to be eradicated. Oh my God, I can't believe you're in HR. You're so different.
I usually don't like HR. I want that to change. So Monica and I in HR, there's a lot of talk around having a seat at the table and be a strategic partner. And so when you're in HR, you get into HR and they just tell "You need to be a strategic partner". They don't tell you how, like how to be a strategic partner?
That's this big word, but I don't, I'm not sure how to do it. So Monica and I wanted to break it down and say, okay, here are the components you need to be that warrior. Cuz that's a heck of a lot sexier than a strategic partner. Sorry, warrior sounds like so much more fun and active. So we called it the CHARGE model. Warrior CHARGE.
It's all action and movement oriented. So how you could do that is the C is for Courage. And so do you have the courage to use your voice for the employees when they need to? So the example I gave Becca, you're not paid equal to your males. Do I have the courage to bring that up? Do I have the courage then to maybe tell an employee?
Actually, you're wrong on that. Like the business isn't against you for any reason you may think that, but that's actually not true. And so do you have the courage for both sides and to help both sides? I like to say if you haven't felt like you're about to get fired, you probably haven't used your Kurd sometimes in leadership meetings.
If you're like, if I say this, could I lose my job? I don't want you to do that every day, but once in a while, you need to really stand up and do something like that. And the H is for Humility. And so in HR, especially people, they think we should know everything. We should know every law, we should know every benefit, we should know all this, and we don't have to know.
So saying "I don't know" is really tough for HR people. It's really tough cuz we're expected to know it all and we're tend to be people pleasers. So we really want to give people the answer. And then, as I mentioned, another big humble and humility that HR needs to have is around, we don't run the business.
And so, like I said, we facilitate. So sometimes you can get really sassy and really ticked off because they're not taking your advice. And this is when HR tends to get pretty jaded sometimes. So oh, leaders aren't gonna do it anyway, so why do I try? You kinda have to have this humility that we don't run the business.
And if you wanna run the business, you can go do that, be in operations or be more frontline. But HR is a facilitator, so you need to manage that in yourself. And then Accuracy, which is my favorite. Well, I have all favorites, but accuracy I really like because that is asking why and getting to root cause.
So for those who have read the book, the 5 Whys or know of that book, it's so great cuz it's just, well, why? And in HR we're, we tend to be sometimes at the tail end of an issue and people come in and go, Keri, I need to fire this person. Or Keri, we need training right away. Well, why? Without annoying the hell outta people.
But why, like, why is this? Because you're really trying to get to root cause and be very accurate with your solution instead of just doing a bandaid. And then G is for Goal orientation. So we talk about in HR is sometimes HR incented to go and get our continuous education credits and go to these best practice sharings and learn about engagement and these new tools and fancy products.
And then it might not be right for our business. And so we come back with all these, we're gonna do a retention program, but the company might say, that's not where we're at right now. We're barely scraping by. We cannot even deal with adding more money or doing this. And so for goal orientation for HR means that the HR goals have to be tied to the business goals.
HR needs to understand how, if someone stops me in the proverbial elevator pitch, right, and I'm in the elevator and then, what are you working on? I need to be able to say, I'm working on this because if we have world-class leaders, we will have more revenue and we'll be able to expand our footprint in South America.
That's why I'm working. Oh, okay. Got it. All right. And then E is exemplary. So whether HR likes it or not, we are on a stage. People see us. People know it's usually because we did help facilitate their hiring. They do hear from us sometimes to please do this, please do your compliance training, right?
So they see us and we have to walk the talk. And the reason Monica and I were very passionate about exemplaries because it's unfortunate that a lot of HR folks will tell everyone to do something, but they don't do it themselves. And that's from something super simple, like I didn't do my performance evaluations like I tell everyone else to do my performance evaluations, but of course I didn't do them or to the bigger ones.
And what happens is the people see that. So the example that Monica and I always used is we had a leader who went out and he told another leader, you know what? Your team's not the best. Like you need to upgrade your talent. You need to have a more cohesive team. We can help you do that, but you need to do that.
And the leader said to one of our colleagues, she said, well, that's interesting that he said that because he doesn't have the best team, two people on his team, he should fire cuz they're an embarrassment. So I'm not gonna listen to him. Oh, and so when you're the VP of HR and you're going around telling people that you should have high performing team, you should have the best talent, you should hold off and hire the best talent, and then you don't do it, everyone sees that.
Everyone sees that and then they'll go, oh, why do I trust you? Why should I work with you? You don't even know what you're talking about. You don't even drink your own, I don't wanna say drink your own Kool-Aid cause that's bad. But eat your own dog food, which is also bad. So you know what I'm saying?
Becca Banyard: Yeah, I do. That's awesome. Thanks for going into depth on that framework. Super interesting. And I'm curious, for an HR manager who wants to implement this framework in their own practice, where should they start?
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: I think it's fun. When we've met with HR managers, we've asked them, which one do you do the best?
And they'll usually pick courage and resilience. They'll usually pick that. So HR people usually tend to know when they see it, this is the one I'm really good at. And then we say, okay, which ones do you need help with? It's typically accuracy and exemplary. And so I think for me, and what we do in the book too, is we have some exercises that people, cause I really wanted it to be action oriented.
And I think pick one, right? So pick one that you know you do really well and make that kind of your superpower. Or I am really good at this, so like I am really resilient, so I'm gonna make sure that I'm always nurturing that so I'm resilient. And then figure out the one that maybe is you're like, oh, I really gotta work on that one.
I'm just not as goal-oriented. I gotta figure out how to tie my goals to the business, and then you can just make one little goal for the next month. I'm gonna look at one goal and make sure it's tied to the business. And so I think just taking smaller chunks, because what I don't want is people to be overwhelmed with the CHARGE model and go, oh, I'm not good at four things, or I'm just starting out and I don't want them to be overwhelmed.
So just start out with one thing, just one thing for, one week and then one more thing the next week, try to add make it additive.
Becca Banyard: Putting you on the spot here, but do you have any stories, success stories of HR managers, HR leaders putting this CHARGE practice or CHARGE framework rather into their practice and seeing their role change for the better?
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: Yeah, I think I'll take it that we worked with a team one time. And then I'll think of an individual example too. I think we worked with a team and the team was struggling. They weren't a very high performing team, and so we were brought in to say, let's do some assessments. Let's like figure out what we can do.
And just having that model of going, huh, we need to be more courageous, as a team, we're not courageous. And they realized as a team what they need to do and the plans they needed to make with it. They were a much higher and performing team after that. Some team members left. Let's not it's not all roses at oh, everyone just went, yay.
And then, it was perfect after the leader had to make some choices that some people couldn't make that framework all. But then they did the ones who were left. And I think they focused on let's be more courageous or what can we do as a team? And I think as an individual, one of my favorite people who gave feedback on it, and I never thought that book would be used by this.
I always thought there's development and you'll maybe get more resilient or work on your goal orientation. And what she told me was, because we have questions in the book around, how will you know if your company actually wants a warrior? Cause that's really key. And one of the things, let me just back up for one second before I answer your question, Becca.
One of the things that Monica and I wanted is to make sure that HR people knew that the business is also a big part of how successful you are. We didn't wanna write a book that said, "You can be a warrior", and then HR people were like, but I can't get anything done. You know, when you date, sometimes it's you, not me.
Well, sometimes it is the company and not you. And so we have a whole chapter talking about the company and maybe the company doesn't want warriors at this point. We have a list of questions that you should ask yourself are you a fit? Cuz you might not be. And this woman told me that she uses it.
She used it when she was interviewing at companies. And so she's let me tell you what I do. I have it in my glove compartment. And she would be driving around to find, to go to the interview, had she pull out the book and she would look at the questions. She's and that's how I knew I wanted to work for this company because they could answer those questions.
And I went, oh my God, that's like the best thing. I never thought about someone using it that way, but they use it as an interview book and interview questions so they could make sure that they were finding the right match so they weren't suffering as a warrior that no one wants.
Becca Banyard: That's really cool that she was able to use it in that way. I had a previous podcast with another guest where I was asking about how somebody can identify if a company is gonna fit their values or what they're looking for. So yeah, I'll tuck that one away.
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: Yeah, it's really important that culture fit and especially for HR people, cuz you're so dependent on the leadership.
If they can't answer some questions about even simple as budget or how they view HR, and you'll tell a lot by when you ask, What does a successful HR person look like? I've never had one before. Then you know what you're getting yourself into. So it's important.
Becca Banyard: So for the companies that do want an HR warrior, how can leaders empower their HR managers, support their HR managers so that they can make a greater impact?
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: I think, so one it's that even as a leader, being that self-aware to even know what do I want out of HR to begin with and what do I have some baggage, I think we all do in a way because society has told us from the office and other cartoons and things like that, that HRs wanna, want.
Look at your own baggage. Some of the leaders I've worked with who didn't like HR were at least very self-aware and told me, I don't like HR. I've never had HR that's been impressive. So how are you gonna change that, Keri? And I always love that because you knew exactly where you stood with them.
You knew it. And so I think leadership needs to figure out how do we even feel about them? And if I have some baggage, I probably need to clean that up a little bit before I hire one or try to bring them in to the fold. So look at yourself first. And then I think for leaders, you just have to treat them like any other department, that it's not an afterthought.
It's not that they shouldn't be invited to the team meeting. They should be sitting at the team meeting. They're not just there for when you wanna fire someone. They're there to really help you think through all these issues that are going on at work now, from engagement to finding the right talent, to making sure you have the right talent for the long run and the short term.
So I think leaders need to create that environment where they're included. And what leadership says in front of others about HR means something too. So if you're always like, And HR, you can do the slides or HR will do the party, or Uh-oh HR is here. People will then all of a sudden realize, oh, that's what we expected here.
So I think leadership has sets this tone and this stage for it, but it really is just about including and treating them like any other business partner, any other business that you would include marketing and they have expertise. And my last thing for leaders is HR is a profession. And so hire professionals and don't do this.
They do it a lot in Southern California. They make the office manager the HR person or the receptionist cuz they said, oh, she, and it's usually she. She likes people, so I guess she can do HR and they put 'em in this role. And it's horrible to put anyone in that role, especially in a state like California, where it's highly complex and one wrong move and it can be a fine and it's just not fair.
And then the person is overwhelmed. But then also the employees are like, well, this person doesn't even know HR, and they're in HR. Oh, okay. So please hire a professional.
Becca Banyard: Yeah, that's a tricky one. I'm curious, I wasn't gonna ask this, but how do you differentiate between the role of HR and people and culture? Because I know in the last number of years we've been moving into the people and culture role, and I'm just curious to hear your perspective on how they're different.
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: Yeah, they're not really different. It's more of a name change and a focus change. So it really started as personnel way back when, and that was very much paperwork and then it became human resources.
Cause now we're managing the humans and trying to figure out our resources. And then people have really thought of it as, they don't wanna call 'em human resources. I think they feel like it's a distancing language. So, how can we call it what is more of what they're focusing on, which is people, the individuals, and we're the facilitators of the culture.
So sometimes you hear people in culture, people in development, people in engagement. So I think that's this evolution of what their focus is on, but it's the same role.
Becca Banyard: Thanks. Thanks for sharing that. So what's one piece of advice that you can leave with HR managers who are listening and who want to excel in their career, but they're being placed under a ceiling of expectations or a lack of expectation and it's just dragging them down? What kind of advice can you give them?
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: Well, of course buy the book. But I think the real advice is I think there's some soul searching to do for HR managers and it's really hard because in HR and people in engagement, you tend to put yourselves last cuz we're helpers for the most part. And so can the company really match what you need?
Is the company really there? I've seen too many HR people stay with a company that doesn't want HR and you're not gonna be successful. So let it go and go find a new role. So I think there's some soul searching on the company side. And then as the individual, you have to find out like why you're in HR.
It's a hard profession. It's not for everyone. It's a lot of stuff you have to deal with. And if you are getting jaded, if you are feeling like, why am I here? And these people are all like a real pain in my butt, you might not wanna be in HR. So I think that's a lot of soul searching to start with in HR.
Like, why exactly are you there? And I think once you realize why you're there, that long-term hook for you is why then you can put up with all this stuff that happens during the bad days. Because you know you're making an impact or you know you're making a difference. It's getting right with your why, and if you can get right with your why, you can survive HR for a long time.
If you're not right with your why, you might be that jaded Toby from The Office, and we don't want that. I don't want that for you either. He doesn't look happy, he's not happy.
Becca Banyard: We don't want more Tobys.
No. All right. Well, we're gonna be wrapping up here, but I have a couple questions that I ask all my guests and I'd love for you to weigh in. So first question is, what do you think is the number one thing that keeps employees happy in the workplace?
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: This one, to me, is the easier of your two questions that you always ask. One is they want manager who cares about them. That's it. Now how it looks like is different for you and me, Becca. Right?
Like what a caring manager looks like to you is different from what a caring manager and what I need from that manager. But I want someone who cares. I want someone who sees me. I want someone who will appreciate my whole self coming to work, and I just want someone to help me and care about me. Super simple, hard to do, but that's all they really want.
Becca Banyard: Yeah. My previous manager, he's actually the only manager who's ever asked me this, but he asked me early on into our working relationship, how I like to be appreciated. And as somebody who really thrives with words of affirmation and feedback, I was able to share that with him and it meant so much to me. It was a really impactful and memorable moment.
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: Yeah. He saw you as an individual and a person and not a widget or just, I treat everyone the same way. I tell 'em all, great job. Even if they want it or not. And so it means a lot when you're seen.
Becca Banyard: Absolutely. Next question is the harder of the two, as you said.
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: Oh, the harder one.
Becca Banyard: What do you personally need in order to be a successful leader?
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: I think what I personally need to be successful in my role is I need a team around me. And by that I mean leaders who are really great and who mean well, and who wanna do good things, and I need a good manager.
And I need a good coworkers and team. So I'm just asking for the world, Becca. But for me to be the best I can be, right, is I need support. That's really it. Like to, for me to be a good leader, I need support. I also need self-awareness. Like for sure I need to work on myself, but once I do that, I really need support and I need really good leaders around me and a team around me.
And with that, you can accomplish anything. It's amazing.
Becca Banyard: Keri, it's been such a pleasure having you on the show today. For anybody who wants to get in touch with you, follow your work or connect with you for consulting, where can they get in touch?
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: LinkedIn, I have a, not a very common name, so if you put in Keri Ohlrich, you'll find me. And then you can also go to our website Abbracci Group and contact us there as well.
Becca Banyard: Amazing. Thank you again for joining us.
Dr. Keri Ohlrich: Thank you. I appreciate it. It was fun. Thank you so much.
Becca Banyard: For everyone listening, thank you so much for tuning in. And if you'd like to stay in touch with all things HR and leadership, head over to peoplemanagingpeople.com/subscribe to join our newsletter community.
Bye for now.