2012 EKU Graduates

Last weekend I attended my nephew’s college graduation  at Eastern Kentucky University.   In a few more days, I will be attending my youngest son’s graduation at SIU Carbondale.  So this has got me to thinking about what it must be like to be a graduate headed into the world, and starting out as a young professional.

Well, being the good attentive Uncle I am, I attempted to  listened closely to what all of the commencement speakers had to say and then reflected on their comments.  What I got is this from the  speakers collectively:  now is an exciting time; go out into the world find your niche, aim for the stars and be the best that you can be – oh and don’t forget to donate as an alumni.   The students that were graduating with my nephew were from the College of Health Sciences and the College of Justice and Safety.  Many of these students will end up working as various health care occupations, nurses, policemen and firemen. I am confident that many of them will make a difference in peoples lives.

I could sense the excitement the graduates.  They seemed genuinely amped up about going out into the world.  I would include my nephew as one of the jacked up students.  This got me to thinking about me and what I do –HR.   I will always remember hearing Johnny Taylor, former SHRM Board Chairman, speaking at a SHRM Leadership Conference.  He said this;  ” I talk to a lot of students and I don’t hear any of them saying when I grow up I want to be a benefits administrator for a Fortune 500 Company.”   I think Johnny nailed it too.  HR just ain’t sexy.   That is a problem.

If we don’t look like a cool field to get into, we are not going to get some of the best and the brightest into our field.  So how do we make it cool – sexy?  The HROfficial does not have the answer for this one – but I think SHRM and some of the younger folks in the field had better be thinking how we are going to doll this up and get students jacked up about wanting to be in HR.

In a effort to gauge our coolness or lack there of, I googled “Is HR sexy?”   Based upon what I found on the first two pages of returns I am going to have to go with NO.

Perhaps if I were at a large business school with an emphasis on HR, I might get the notion that the HR profession was a little more glamorous.

Next weekend will take me to another college graduation. I am going to mingle with these graduates and ask them, “Have you ever thought about getting into Benefits Administration?” – and see what kind of responses I get. Perhaps I will do a little video or my investigation, to capture the essence of their responses.