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What makes a hero? Who is your HR Hero?

November 23, 2016


Name a hero. 


Likely, your first few will be superheros: Batman, Superman, Ironman (Why are they always men, by the way?) Wonder Woman (There we go!).


If you think just outside the superhero box you might go to some historical figures:  Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, George Washington, (Again, why do men come to mind first?) Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller, Sojourner Truth (Okay, better!).


So, what was the point of the exercise?  (It wasn’t to show that we think of heroes before heroines, although I do find that interesting.)  When asked, “Who is your hero?” often people will gravitate to idealized fictional characters or great political figures.  But the definition of a hero is more common than that.  A hero is a person who is admired for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. 

A hero is a person who is admired for courage outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

While super heroes and great political figures definitely fit the definition, so do everyday people working towards great causes in their own workplace.  Simply stated, a hero is someone with courage working towards great things!  I believe it is important to celebrate those heroes in our lives, the people leading great causes and making the future better for the rest of us. 


VUHRD is kicking off a new Instagram series called #HRHERO!  We believe it is important to recognize the efforts of those in our own field who are heroically leading the charge to change our organizations for the better.  An HR Hero need not be someone everyone knows, although they may be; an HR Hero is an individual working in or with HR that you believe is courageously pursuing worthwhile achievements for employees and organizations. 

An #HRHERO is an individual working in or with human resources that you believe is courageously pursuing worthwhile achievements for employees and organizations.

I recently posted my HR Hero, Laszlo Bock.  Bock is the former Senior VP of People Operations at Google.  Bock’s approach to people operations was one to give employees freedom to surprise you with all they will do.  Recently, under Bock’s direction, Google has started a project called Re:Work to bring together best practices, research, and ideas from Google and other organizations with the idea of putting people first.  Re:Work is an effort to help us all rethink work to make it a better place for all employees.  As Bock says in the Re:Work introduction video, we can “quietly conspire to #makeworkbetter!” 


This project is a cause I believe is extremely important for all organizations.  I am inspired by the efforts and the charge that Bock is leading at Google with Re:Work.  These efforts make him my HR Hero!


So, who is your #HRHERO?  What HR professional has inspired you?  What great causes or ideas are they championing in your organization?  Share your #HRHERO in the comments below!  We hope to feature many of your heroes in our Instagram series!



Bethany J. Adams, MA is an Assistant Director in the Graduate HRD program at Villanova University. Learn more about her here!

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