It was my husband’s birthday. We dropped our kids at my parents and we were enjoying some moments of being alone, walking around Kraków, which always was one of our favourite ways to relax. It was a cold, rainy evening, people rushed through the streets under umbrellas, avoiding the crowd and escaping to their destinations. In the street was a busker, singing and the playing guitar. He was far from the next Bocceli or Steve Tyler. In fact, he wasn’t even a great singer, but he was deeply involved and he was trying his best. The song he sang was familiar touching people’s nostalgia. It was bringing this specific feeling of positive memories, warm emotions, similar to the moment when you see snowflakes for the first time each year, and hearing in background “Coming home for Christmas”.
But it wasn’t winter, it was actually the middle of June and it was one of the coldest weekends in the month. Enough reason to be upset, as there was no chance to walk in the T-shirts or sandals. But around the place where this busker was singing, nobody was upset, people with coats, umbrellas, and boots stopped and they forgot for a moment what they were running for, listening with a smile on their faces, many of them laughing, making photos or videos – some even encouragingly singing along with him..
It was overwhelming for me how positive feelings and happiness were spreading around and how suddenly this one person focused the crowd on “here and now” and influenced their moods for better, in spite of the cold, rainy day and all other worries which they all have.
In the workplace, its the same. If you already work in Human Resources, you will know from your experience that does not matter if we talk about A-level building or small startup office, on a low floor or a high floor, with windows or without. It doesn’t matter, if we talk about what types of benefits or what type of bonuses, there will always be people which are not happy. People will be in a hurry, focused on solving their daily tasks, overloaded with projects stressed with deadlines, and they will not have time and energy to focus on this “HR stuff”, “soft things”, “things which cannot be directly attributed to income in a profit and loss sheet”. “Yeah, yeah, later, later”, you will hear a lot, but not much really happens later, because it will be always one more important project, task or fire to put out.
Being HR partner, is similar to being the busker I remember from Floriańska Street. You are there not to ask people if they want to listen your singing on the street during rainy day while they are running somewhere else. You are there just to start doing it. Being engaged and trying in spite of the circumstances. You are the one who will play the music even if this music will not be perfect. You don’t have know everything and solve all the issues for them. Sometimes, all you need to do is to influence them to stop, reflect, refocus on now, and bring good memories and emotions. Power and potential is in people. Motivation, creativity, cooperation is all there. They just often don’t have time to realize it and use it wisely. You are there to help them and go play the most beautiful music which will help people and organisation to develop and reach what is not reachable today.
Is this easy? Is not, but it is meaningful and worth trying. I have never regretted my 17 years dedication to it.
My name is Kasia Kern. I am grateful for people I met and things I learned and achieved through these years. From the team we built in Sedlak & Sedlak when I started my career, through the time where I helped build a Dream Team of top talents who opened and ran the first 5-Star hotel in Kraków – Sheraton Krakow. As the first HR employee in Poland I set up a solid foundation for one of the most successful recruitment process outsourcing companies in Poland – Alexander Mann Solutions. I led a HR department of one of the biggest Kraków IT Companies – Sabre Polska to a triple-digit headcount and won Great Place to Work not once but 3 times. I helped develop one of the most developing polish brands 4F by transforming the HR department and developing leaders throughout the company. While doing that I was always focused on developing new people, HR and leaders – many of whom are now leading their own businesses or making tremendous careers.
Many times, during my career I experienced similar moments, like the one on Floriańska Street. When I saw happiness overwhelm people and how the atmosphere increased teamwork, creativity, bringing talents together and positively impacting business results.
This is why, I decided to start sharing broadly my experience, and thoughts about making people happier at work and helping organisations to be happier. On a daily basis, I am a HR consultant, coach, facilitator, and trainer – blogger is my very new profession, and one I hope you will enjoy reading, as much as I enjoy writing.
Chief Happiness Officer