If you follow us on Instagram, you know we’re big fans of motivating and inspiring quotes for HR pros and entrepreneurs, which is why we’ve put together this roundup of our favourites from some of the most forward-thinking leaders on the globe. Here is a list of 10 of our favourite inspiring HR quotes for HR professionals.
“Nothing we do is more important than hiring people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not strategies.”
Our first HR quote comes from AlliedSignal (later Honeywell) CEO Lawrence Bossidy. Lawrence Bossidy (now retired) spent 30 years rising through the ranks at GE, much of which was spend in close proximity to GE’s infamous tenured CEO Jack Welch. Known for his candid approach for delivering feedback, Jack Welch is responsible for shaping much of what we know about great leadership in business. He’s been quoted on leadership more than one can count, for example, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” Though not as well known, we can see the influence Jack Welch has had on Lawrence Bossidy in the way he emphasizes the importance of people. Hiring the right people for the role is the most important job of a manager. After all, you need to bet on great people if you want to accomplish great things.
“Employees engage with employers and brands when they’re treated as humans.”
The second HR quote on the list comes from Meghan Biro, CEO of Talent Culture recruitment agency. This HR quote is one of our favourites because it captures the essence of our values here at Rise. In order for your people to engage with the company they first need to be treated as humans. Pretty simple rule to follow, treat humans like humans right?
Well as so often is the case, people aren’t always treated like people. Especially when revenue is on the line. As a team and company grows it’s obvious to expected a few things to fall by the wayside. But once employee engagement begins to dip managers are often left scratching their heads in confusion. Why are our employees less satisfied? Why is turnover increasing? Why are people noticeably less enthusiastic at the office? Well as Meghan says, when you treat your people like people, great things can happen. When people are treated well, have a sense of purpose within the company, and have tangible goals — they’re engaged. Explore how you can put the human part back into your human resources.
“In order to build a rewarding employee experience, you need to understand what matters most to your people.”
Here’s an HR quote we’re absolutely familiar with because it comes straight from Rise‘s Chief Revenue Officer Julie Bevacqua. It’s part of Rise’s ethos and it’s something kept top of mind everyday by management. In order to build a workplace culture with energy and enthusiasm about coming to work, you need to discover what matters to your people. Finding out what exactly that is is entirely up to you. Anonymous online surveys, voting, and Slack channels are all great ways of collecting information but in our opinion nothing beats a one-on-one. People and Culture Coordinator Kristin regularly schedules quick one-on-ones with Rise employees to collect feedback on how their time at Rise is going. We know collecting employee feedback can be akin to pulling teeth but at the end of the day if you want to improve for your employees you need to hear what they have to say.
“To win the marketplace, you must first win the workplace.”
We love this HR quote from Doug Conant who served as Campbell Soup Company’s long running President and CEO until 2011. Under Doug’s leadership Campbell Soup Company reversed a decline in market value, improved its financial profile and enhanced its diversity and inclusion practices. To get the company back on the right track Doug knew he had to win over his people first. Coming into the position right after a recent round of layoffs, team morale was incredibly low. Doug knew he would have to support his people first if he wanted any chance of success. We see this all the time in business. Successful managers are successful because of the people behind them. The lesson to be learned? If you step up for your people they’ll step up for you.
“Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t have to.”
-Sir Richard Branson
Next up we have a HR quote we assume much of the business world has heard. This quote is from Sir Richard Branson, enigmatic founder of Virgin Group Ltd., and we love it because it’s counterintuitive to the way most businesses leaders think. The idea Sir Richard so often promotes is to train people well enough to leave but treat them even better so that they don’t. Not too complicated of an idea but if you’ve had any experience in the business world you know that’s not often the case. Businesses hold onto top performers with a death grip. Always ready to counter any company trying to snatch them away.
What Sir Richard is advising is to take a more proactive approach to employee cultivation. Instead of reacting haphazardly each time a top performer is set to leave — be proactive. Keep line of communication open and schedule frequent chats with top performers. Don’t wait until the water boils over and they’ve had enough.
“In most cases, being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.”
Tina Fey, a.k.a. Liz Lemon on 30 Rock a.k.a the internet’s spirit animal, used this quote to describe what it means to be a good boss. Fey is no stranger to leading high performing teams, having several directorial and producing credits under her name and it clearly shows. The quote itself has a similar vibe to a different quote from another well-known leader, Apple’s iconic founder Steve Jobs, who said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
Great leaders know their strengths, but they know their weaknesses even better. Knowing when to act and when to step back is one of the skills a leader must master. Jack Donaghy would be proud.
“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.”
– John Cleese
Long-time actor, screen writer, and Hollywood legend John Cleese had this to say about managing creative workers. It’s one of our favourites because it’s focused on cultivating employee creativity, in-part, through a strong work/life balance. In The Shining we learned that, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” and studies have shown organizations that promote employee health and well-being, for example through work/life balance, are 3.5 times more likely than others to encourage creativity and innovation. Work/life balance matters. Customer acquisition, retention, development, sales, marketing, you name it — all require creativity to flourish. So if you’re looking to improve the level of employee creativity it may be time to reevaluate work policies. Just do it before someone sticks an axe through your door.
“A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.”
Next up is a quote we refer to often from an unknown source. It relates to employee appreciation and recognition. Every human being, not only employees, likes to be told they are appreciated. As social creatures we’re all searching for our place in the world, a sense of purpose or reason. From top to bottom, everyone in a company likes to know that their work is valued and appreciated by their peers and of course the customers.
Appreciate employees the quote advises, because those who know they’re appreciated will always have a sense of purpose within the business.
“Leadership is about giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.”
Here we have a management quote from marketing guru Seth Godin, author of several ground breaking books on contemporary marketing and entrepreneurship. Like he does with all of his consulting, Seth provides great advice here on the role of leadership should play. Seth sees the role of a leader as a conduit for spreading great ideas.
“If you’re good to your staff when things are going well, they’ll rally when times go bad.”
-Mary Kay Ash