Fear Monster — What’s Driving Your Decisions?

Fear — it’s the only thing that holds us back.  In my line of work, I see this every single day.  HR professionals are fearful of the change that they oversee.  Fearful of the extra work.  They fear the unknown.  They fear what they can’t control.  The fear of the beyond.  But what people love and what they really crave is transparency, authenticity, the power to be yourself.  It’s refreshing.  It’s unusual, and apparently it’s a special, special thing.

I had no idea . . .

Since I can remember, I’ve always had a voice.  An inner voice compelled to share my insights, knowledge, and point of view.  A voice I couldn’t turn off.  And throughout my professional career and I climbed the traditional corporate ladder, I learned to control this voice.  Shut it down.  Become a shell of myself.  For nearly four years, I played this game.  I followed the rules and did what I was told although the rules didn’t make sense.  The rules and message was sucking my soul.  It was the sound and smell of fear.

Fear Monster — What’s Driving Your Decisions?

And fear was the driving catalyst of that message.  Companies fearing employees who thought for themselves.  Lived a life.  Had a voice, but this is changing.

Yesterday, I sat in a room full of nearly 200 professionals at the People Report Summer Camp Conference.  This group is a mix of marketing and human resource professionals who are sitting in the same room together, talking about engagement with consumers, employees, and candidates.  And working together.  Yes, I said together.

Without so many words, the underlying conversation rests on fear.  How to break these barriers.  Have a voice.  Make a change and overcome that big scary monster — fear.  Be themselves allowing their employees to do the same.  Working together to make this actually happen.  To change the internal culture of an organization and an industry.

How refreshing.  This is my second year at the summer camp, and I’ve come to believe that this group of service and restaurant industry professionals are leading the pack.  Setting the bar and standard for the future of work.  Why?  Because the service industry employs our future workforce before their our future workforce.  At age 16, my first job was in fast food.  I grew up there.  Learning about culture, responsibility, and the value of engagement and interaction.  The industry works with these future leaders, professionals before anyone else forcing them to adapt to change.  Forcing them to change and adapt and attract this future workforce.  This industry works out the kinks, tests the waters, and sets the standard long before the rest of us.

The service industry is the bar in which all other are measured.  They are the first candidate courting experience and working relationship that these young future professionals face.  They’ve been living and adapting to the tech savvy Millenial workforce for the last 10-20 years.  And it wasn’t surprising to this group when I mentioned that 83% of Millenials sleep with their cells phones.  This is old hat for these service pros, and headline news for the professional workforce.

While much of the conversation centers around social media engagement, relationships, and organizational transparency, the underlying theme is fear.  How to overcome it, react to it, and be open and honest about fear with yourself, for your employees, and your organization.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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