10 Inspiring HR Quotes To Take On 2020

Quotes are often a great source of inspiration, and when it comes to the year 2020, we think everyone could use a little pick-me-up! Here are 10 HR quotes that we found helped us think more introspectively, and get excited about the rest of the year.

We’re more than a quarter of the way through the year 2020, and we can’t imagine a more crazy start to the year. We, like you, continue to make the most of every day we have, and look forward to a future that’s a little less uncertain.

During challenging times, one of our favorite things to do is refer back to quotes or ideas that have lifted our hearts, inspired our minds, or brought a smile to our lips. So, in the face of the wild circumstances we’re currently facing, here are 10 HR quotes that we hope will help you take on 2020.

#1

Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to."

—Sir Richard Branson

We love this one. It encapsulates everything that a great company and great HR department should strive to do for their employees. One of the major responsibilities all companies should fulfill is to ensure their employees are trained well enough to do their job. 

Employees who don’t feel like they’ve had the proper training are the quickest to disengage and look for something new. Every employee should feel confident in their ability to do what’s been asked of them, and it’s the company’s responsibility to set them up for success.

The other major responsibility every company should fulfill is to treat their employees with kindness and respect. Treat them so well that they never want to leave. Employees who feel this way are fiercely loyal, become brand ambassadors, refer friends, and save you the time and money that you would have to spend to hire a replacement.

Train people. Treat them well. Happiness and productivity will follow.

#2

Human Resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business."

—Steve Wynn

If only every CEO and executive felt this way, right? When you really break it down, businesses cannot exist without the humans behind the scenes. After all, it’s people who make decisions, create products, and sell services. These “resources” are what allows any business to run. 

Too often, the HR department isn’t seen as strategic or relevant when it comes to running the business. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When given the proper tools and the trust to be empowered and make decisions, HR can be one of the most vital voices at the table.

"When given the proper tools and the trust to be empowered and make decisions, HR can be one of the most vital voices at the table."

HR teams who are in-sync with employees, who understand engagement levels, who understand company culture, and who know how to get the best out of people will always add tremendous value to their business.

#3

When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home."

—Betty Bender

This quote has taken on a slightly new meaning now that many of us are working from home, but the overall message is loud and clear: We need to invite people to bring their whole selves to work. People are complicated. Each human being comes with their own unique mix of complex emotions, life experiences, situational anxiety, and home-life responsibilities. If we as leaders cannot or choose not to recognize this, then how will we ever get the best out of our people?

So what does letting employees bring their whole selves to work look like in practice? It means letting them end a meeting early to pick up a child from soccer practice, or allowing them to carry out a text conversation with a friend who needs help. It means showing patience and having empathy when you know someone experiencing health challenges didn’t get their task completed by the assigned due date. It means being a good listener if a co-worker simply needs to vent and get something off their chest.

The hearts, minds, emotions, and  feelings of your employees are part of who they are and cannot simply be ignored for the sake of productivity or efficiency. As we invite our people to truly be themselves at work, they’ll feel refreshed and re-energized, knowing they have nothing to hide. 

#4

I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.”

—Lawrence Bossidy

When evaluating companies to invest in, one of the very first things an investor or venture capitalist will do is inspect the makeup of the team. The business model, the marketing strategy, and the size of the market are all important things when it comes to evaluating an investment, but no investor will ever bet on a company that doesn’t have the right team.

People bring ideas to life. People execute strategy. People rethink what’s broken, and make improvements to things that need to be fixed. The fastest way to bring real, sustainable change to any organization is to hire great people, train them to do their job, and then get out of their way, so they can excel.

So how do you build a team of truly great people? Let’s break down three steps to get you started:

Step one: Make sure your hiring process doesn’t have any unnecessary bumps in the road. Make it as frictionless as possible to apply for a job. Great people have options and will go elsewhere if your application process is overly complex.

Step two: Communicate openly and often with your job candidates. Consistent communication lets the candidate know you’re taking the process seriously. Great people expect to be treated with respect, and you show this through communication.

Step three: When you make a hire, ensure that your onboarding process is smooth and seamless. Ensure that you’ve got training and mentorship in place. Do what you can to make your employees feel comfortable and capable in their new position. Great employees know the difference between companies that care and invest in their success and those that don’t. Your onboarding process is an opportunity to nail your company’s first impression with a new hire.

These small steps will lead to better hires, more productive employees, and better success as a company!

Need help removing the unnecessary friction in your hiring and onboarding processes? Give Eddy a try!

#5

Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want to fire somebody with his experience?”

—Thomas John Watson Sr.

Are your employees afraid to make mistakes? Are they so scared to fail that they’re unwilling to take necessary risks that could make your company wildly successful? One of the hardest things we deal with as human beings is failure. It hurts. It’s embarrassing. It’s isolating. Mistakes that are harshly punished feel even worse.

There are some things to consider when dealing with an employee who makes a mistake. First, was their intent to hurt the company? Chances are that this is not the case. It’s more likely that an employee made a mistake attempting to help the company then intentionally hurt it.

Second, why was the mistake made? Should the company have had checks in place so that the mistake couldn’t have been made? Should the company share in the responsibility? It’s important to look at your company’s policies and procedures and how they may have been modified to avoid the mistake, before placing all the blame on an employee.

Third, what can you learn from the mistake? It’s very possible that the money lost or damage done by the error is equivalent in value to the learnings that come from failing. Clearly, from the looks of this quote, Thomas Watson Sr. thought the learnings from this mistake was worth the $600,000 that was lost.

#6

When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute."

—Simon Sinek

Do you want to hear something crazy? According to Gallup, over 60% of the workforce is either “actively disengaged” or “not engaged.” That’s almost 2/3rd of all workers! Gallup says that these workers are “not cognitively and emotionally connected to their work and workplace; they will usually show up to work and do the minimum required but will quickly leave their company for a slightly better offer.”

"According to Gallup, over 60% of the workforce is either “actively disengaged” or “not engaged.”

How can we engage our workforce so that they are emotionally invested and want to contribute? How are we going to turn this statistic around so that the majority of our employees are fully engaged? Here are a couple of thoughts:

  1. Make sure everyone knows what the mission of the company is. If people are working for your organization and don’t know what you do or why you do it, they’ll likely not be engaged in your cause.
  2. Make sure your employees know how their specific job or position contributes to the overall mission of the company. 
  3. Give employees a proper amount of autonomy. No one likes being micromanaged. Teach correct principles and give expectations of what’s expected in the job, and then get out of the way and let them be creative in accomplishing their tasks.
  4. Set goals and communicate the progress around those goals. People love to rally behind goals or ideas. Setting goals that everyone can contribute to is a great way to increase their emotional attachment and engagement.

#7

Hire character. Train skill."

—Peter Schutz

This is something we all struggle with, but it continually rings true. It almost always starts with our job post. We want to hire someone good, so we insist that they have a college degree and an unnecessarily high number of years of experience. We sometimes even insist that they earned their degree in a specific field, or that their prior work experience is in a specific industry.

However, an approach like this usually ends in disappointment. Through years of research and experience, we can confidently say that there are a very small portion of jobs that actually need candidates that meet our loftiest qualifying expectations. Yes, if you’re hiring a physician you’re going to want to be sure the candidate graduated from medical school and that they completed their residency. But if you’re hiring for a junior digital marketer, we shouldn’t automatically disqualify someone because their degree was in English and not Marketing. 

Most jobs can be learned. There are definitely certain positions, especially senior positions, where years of experience can rightfully be considered as an important factor in your hiring decision. But don’t treat an entry-level, or even mid-level position the same as you do a top level executive. If someone has character, if they’re trustworthy, honest, hardworking, and show the ability to learn quickly, then they can be trained! You’ll rarely regret hiring someone who’s full of character.

#8

Every problem is a gift—without problems we would not grow."

—Tony Robbins

Perspective can be challenging. When we’re in the midst of our problems, it’s difficult to learn from them. It’s usually only afterwards, when things are going well that we can look back and either laugh at ourselves, or at least take something from the struggle. But if we went through life, or through the development of our company without any problems, we’d never know what success or achievement felt like.

Opposition is what gives us perspective. We love sunny days because we’ve experienced cold, rainy days. We love ice cream because we’ve experienced broccoli (no offense to those of you who actually like broccoli!) And we can look at our problems as gifts because without them, we wouldn’t know to be grateful for the times of smooth sailing.

Problems in an organization are like pain receptors in the body. They tell you immediately where you should focus your energy. If you were to go skateboarding and fall and break your wrist, the immediate pain you felt would trigger action on your part–usually to see a doctor and get the wrist repaired. Similarly, the problems you might be facing in your company should point you to areas that need immediate action. This provides you the gift to be able to prioritize where you spend your time.

HR can deal with lots of problems. Eddy can help you automate the work!

#9

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing."

—Theadore Roosevelt

We all have one shot at this immense game of life. There are 24 hours in every day, and you can basically break that time into three distinct segments: 8 hours sleeping, 8 hours working, and 8 hours that are somewhat left up to you. So for many of us, that means that 1/3rd of our time between the ages of 20-65 will likely be spent working.

That work may invigorate us, or it may dishearten us. It may bring out the best of us, or hold us back from reaching our loftiest potential. Either way, the time will be spent, the work will move on. So we just need to ask ourselves if the work we’re doing, or the work we’re having our employees do, is offering them this “best prize” of life?

So we just need to ask ourselves if the work we’re doing, or the work we’re having our employees do, is offering them this “best prize” of life?"

When our work aligns with our personal values, and when we can connect with it on an emotional level, it stops feeling like work. All of a sudden, we’re excited for Monday morning, or we stay up late on weekends to get a few extra hours in–not because we were asked to or expected to–but because it’s what we want to do.

Your employees have made the choice to work at your company. They may be happy with that choice, or they may be questioning whether or not it was the right thing to do. Ask yourself, what could your company do to make them feel like they’re winning “the best prize that life offers?” Some introspection on this question may lead to organizational changes that prove revolutionary for your business.

#10

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."

—Walt Disney

Ok we did it. We made it through all 10 HR quotes. Now let’s take this last one to heart and get started. We’ve laid out plenty of thoughts, ideas, and actionable steps you can take to kick off the craziness of 2020, and get your company rolling. But when all is said and done, the best thing you can do now is quit reading this article, and begin putting these things into action!

And don’t worry! These 10 inspiring HR quotes will always be here when you need them. Come back time and time again for inspiration. You know we will.

If you find you ever need some HR help along the way, consider using EddyHR. We’ve got your back, and we’re rooting for you!

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