The recent box office hit, Marvel’s Black Panther, was an inspiration to many including me. Besides the usual blockbuster highlights, what stood out more was that it represented African Americans in a way that is different from the usual movies.
Almost an entire cast of African Americans, having them dressed in great costumes and putting them in the center stage as heroes of their own story really stood out for many. While reading and watching reviews online post-movie, many comments, in particular from the African Americans themselves, really touched me deeply. It felt as if finally, someone (Black Panther) is stepping up to fight for their potential and how they believe they should be represented in the society.
Likewise, it resonated with me so strongly because I feel the same for my profession, Human Resources (HR).
Very often, HR is treated as a second-class citizen, a scapegoat, a support function and even the villain. You name it, you have it. Typically it doesn’t associate much with anything positive within the organization. Why? I believe it has to do with us not stepping up enough at times.
As much as we hear things like, “we need to have a seat on the table” or “we are not appreciated”, the question is, are we doing enough to use our actions to back up our words. Are we simply whining our way behind the scenes or within the community but not trying to use tangible actions to convince our stakeholders that we are serious about what we say?
Just like the movie, nothing is smooth-sailing. From the point where the Black Panther’s father died to him ascending the throne and dethroned and finally regaining his status, it was a journey of self-doubt, reaffirmation, and eventually courage to ensure that he was able to fight for what he truly believed in. Similarly, our journey from a support and administrative function to the desired role of becoming a strategic business partner will not be served to us on a silver platter. We will face challenges along the way who do not believe that we what it takes. We will have doubters who will simply brush us off as not ready and incompetent.
That said, do we really need to let those noises affect? I’ll say take it as feedback and motivation to strive harder. Instead of complaining about what others are saying about us or about how we are treated now, really, be the superhero you want to see.
Being a superhero doesn’t always mean taking on the entire burden of the profession to be the face of HR. Superheroes can also take place in everyday lives and make small differences in the little things that we do. What we need is to stay committed to the course that we are taking and be proud of it. We know how much value we can deliver if we give our best shot to prove it. We know we have a lot of more showcase so please, show it.
Superheroes don’t do well alone. Likewise, we should learn to tap into the ecosystem of support that we have a harness the potential of the community. That’s how we can move further and stronger as a whole. That’s how the real superhero is developed to challenge the status quo and make a true difference that we believe we can make.
So, do you still want to suffer in silence or do you want to step up with me to make the difference you have always wanted to see? Are you ready to step forward to say that you are from HR and proud of be one?
I’ve already taken the first step and got out of my comfort zone because I truly believe. How about you?
People Mentality Inc is a HR Consultancy firm in Singapore. Our clients include Pfizer, Great Eastern, Accenture, DHL, Samsung, Coca Cola, Keppel, Loreal, Under Armour and more. We netted the HR Rising Star 2016 award and APAC Top 10 HR & Employer Branding Consultant 2020.