Article originally appeared on laurieruettimann.com
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Today I have the absolute pleasure of getting together a group BFF chat with three members of the team generally known as Limeade. I speak with Dr. Laura Hamill, who is Limeade’s co-founder, chief people officer and chief science officer. Joining us in conversation is Nani Vishwanath, who serves as Limeade’s people team manager, and Sarah Stevens, a former Limeade employee who is now the co-founder of an HR consultant at Authentic Consulting.
Sit in on our amazing conversation to hear about returning to the basics of HR, what HR can do to improve employee experience during COVID-19 and beyond, and a bit on the culture of care at Limeade and what it’s like to be a valued member of the team.
Getting Back to the Fundamentals of Human Resources
As HR evolves, it has branched out to cover many different aspects of workplace life. But for Sarah, the root of HR will always be in supporting employees and leaders. “It’s showing up, it’s being a resource, and it’s helping them create a great work experience,” she says. This is one of the many lessons that the impact of COVID-19 on the employee experience has taught us.
Sarah provides us with key questions that HR leaders should ask themselves to make sure they are getting back to what the fundamentals of human resources are all about:
- Are we communicating with our employees regularly?
- Do employees have time to care for the needs of their loved ones?
- Are we providing them with benefits they need to live well?
Another fantastic application of this basic level of care in HR is when Nani talks about how she created a working parents-caregiver employee resource group for Limeade. For her, this project was born out of deep care for other people. “The best parts have been when people have felt heard and understood, and that I saw their perspective into their experience,” she tells us. “HR felt very real.”
Who Else But Us?
According to Dr. Laura, the fundamentals of human resources are located at the point in which the complexities of human beings and organizations converge. She tells us that being in the middle of an often confusing system can sometimes make people who work in HR feel stuck. And that’s a perfectly valid feeling, given the enormity of the work involved with managing the two sides.
I absolutely love the answer she gives to help motivate HR leaders who find themselves feeling this way: “Who else but us to make real meaningful things happen in your organization?” She has seen firsthand the results when those in HR take a step back and say, “I can do this.” Even though the nature of HR work can feel complicated, Dr. Laura says that it’s on people who work in HR to “take a step in that direction and do one thing that’s about humanity.” And who is better equipped to achieve this goal for a company than those who work in HR?
The Concept of Care
Dr. Laura describes Limeade as an employee experience technology company. At its core, the company brings a research and science perspective to the fundamentals of human resources. “What that means is that we try to offer software as a way to scale your employee experience,” she tells us. “The reason why we start with care is because the science is so clear that when you support your employees, you get better people and business results.”
The idea of putting care for your employees above all else has helped all three of them tremendously as they’ve dealt with issues familiar to all of us, such as figuring out career goals and dealing with employee burnout. As Sarah considered her future at Limeade before co-founding Authentic Consulting, she greatly valued the level of support from fellow employees during the process. “The concept of care really does run through the lifeblood of Limeade,” she says.
The concept of care is also so important to an organization after the difficulties we all faced in 2020. When leaders empathize and share their own struggles, they can make employees feel heard and taken care of. “I think people are seeking vulnerability and authenticity in a really challenging year,” Nani tells us. “We’ve been having conversations about that with our leaders at Limeade, because this year is tough, and people just need to know that they’re not alone in that.”